The geological sources of Hg contamination in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada: a GIS approach

Research paper by Krista D. Page, Brendan J. Murphy

Indexed on: 01 Apr '03Published on: 01 Apr '03Published in: Environmental Geology


Recent studies have shown that mercury (Hg) levels in many fish from remote lakes exceed the recommended guidelines for human consumption. Most of these studies conclude that the source of contamination lies in the atmosphere. Kejimkujik National Park (KNP), Nova Scotia, Canada, is considered to be a pristine ecosystem in which fish and loon Hg levels are anomalously high. Studies in the park have shown that atmospheric Hg concentrations may not be high enough to account for the Hg levels in the biota, indicating that the park may be an unusual system in terms of Hg distribution and migration. In an attempt to summarise and synthesise the numerous Hg data sets which have been produced in the park over the last 5–10 years, a geographic information systems (GIS) approach was used to create a common database using the watersheds in the park as the common parameter. By using a GIS database, new relationships and correlations are established and the spatial distribution of Hg levels is more readily evaluated and quantified. The results indicate that geological sources of Hg, arising from biotite-rich granite rocks, may play a larger role in the contamination of the park than previously thought.