Sample Paper on Trace Metal Concentration in Utah Lake Sediment

Trace Metal Concentration in Utah Lake Sediment


The effects of trace metal concentration in Utah Lake sediments are adverse on the plant life and aquatic animal life over a long period. The presence of those trace metal concentrations is connected to anthropogenic activities around in Utah Lake. Mining activities around the lake have led to deposition of trace metals in the water body due to accelerated cycling of metals. The problem to be resolved through effective research practices is to find the rate of trace metal settlement within the lake system sediments. This can only be achieved through measurement of trace metal concentrations in the lake sediments. Because of these concerns, the present study seeks to find out the concentration of such trace metals on the sediments of Utah Lake. The concentration of trace metals in the Utah Lake sediment will be measured through the use of Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer following concentration with Aqua Regia. The results obtained will give the concentration of trace metals within the lake Sediment at the time of measurement and cannot be relied upon for generalization to the entire lake system at all times. These results will however be recorded continuously for further analysis and future application.


Anthropogenic activities around Utah Lake have led to the presence of trace metal concentrations above the expected in the lake. The trace metals affect the quality of life in the lake negatively through bioaccumulation in fish and other aquatic animals and through disruption of the chemical balance of the lake (Rakotaorisaona and others 2).Trace metals such as Cu, Al, As, Co, Cr, and Pb have been found in the Utah Lake sediments through previous research. However, the concentration of Cu was found to be more in comparison with other trace metals. According to Rakotaorisaona and others, the accumulation of trace metals in the lake sediments has detrimental effects on citizens and wildlife that use this water body (12).

Water is commonly described as the source of life. However, Utah Lake water has a negative effect not only on the citizens and the wildlife but also on the biosphere as a whole due to the disruption of balance and the food chain. In the Utah Lake sediment, it was found that the concentration of trace metals such as silver and mercury was higher downstream than upstream. Moreover, the impacts of such metals on the lives of the aquatic life was best represented through observed impairment of macro-invertebrates in areas where the trace metal concentrations was higher than in other sections of the lake (Giddings and others 1). Furthermore, the concentration of trace metals in the Utah Lake sediments was also found to be higher than the allowable water quality concentrations (Giddings and others 20).

The impact that mining activities have had on Utah Lake trace metal concentrations clearly shows that human activities can impact the ecosystem negatively. Although the mining activities were greater in the 1800s the impacts of those activities on Silver Creek, a tributary to Utah Lake and to the lake itself cannot be ignored (Giddings and others 3). The concentration of trace metals in the sediments has continued to increase with an increase in urban population, resulting in even more adverse effects on the aquatic organisms since they ingest the sediments either incidentally or preferentially during feeding (Giddings and others 20). This makes the presence of trace metals in the Utah Lake sediments a challenging subject that requires to be addressed through frequent determination of the trace metal concentrations.

Works Cited

Giddings, Elise, Michelle Hornberger and Heidi Hadley. Trace Metal Concentrations in Sediment and Water and Health of Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Communities of Streams near Park City, Summit County, Utah. US Geological Survey, 2001.

Rakotaorisaona, Henintsoa, Kevin Jackman, Sheryce Henley, Joshua William Jackson, Eddy Cadet, Weihong Wang and Suzanne Walther. “Evaluation of the Distribution and Mobility of Selected Trace Metals in Sediments at Utah Lake Outlet.” Paper Presented at the GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, 2014.