The Science of the total environment

Geochemical markers of soil anthropogenic contaminants in polar scientific stations nearby (Antarctica, King George Island).

PMID 25770449


The organic contamination of Antarctic soils and terrestrial sediments from nearby of five polar scientific stations on King George Island (Antarctica) was investigated. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was applied to find composition of dichloromethane extracts of soil and terrestrial sediments. The presence of geochemical markers, such as n-alkanes, steranes, pentacyclic triterpenoids, and alkyl PAHs, their distribution types, and values of their ratios indicates the predominating source of organic fossil fuels and products of their refining rather than from the natural Antarctic environment. Fossil fuel-originated compounds well survived in conditions of Antarctic climate over long times thus enabling to characterize geochemical features of source fossil fuel identified as petroleum expelled from kerogen II of algal/bacterial origins deposited in sub-oxic conditions and being in the middle of catagenesis. Both microbial activity and water leaching play an important role in degradation of terrestrial oil spills in the Antarctica climate, and petroleum alteration occurs lowly over long periods of time. Synthetic anthropogenic compounds found in terrestrial Antarctica sediments included diisopropylnaphthalenes, products of their sulfonates degradation in paper combustion, and organophosporus compounds used as retardants and plasticizers.