• Mercury in the environs of the north slope of Alaska

      Weiss, H. V.; Chew, K.; Guttman, M.; Host, A. (Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, 1974)
      The analysis of Greenland ice suggests that the flux of mercury from the continents to the atmosphere has increased in recent times, perhaps partly as a result of the many of man’s activities that effect an alteration of terrestrial surfaces. Upon the exposure of fresh crustal matter, the natural outgassing of mercury vapor from the earth’s surface could be enhanced. Accordingly, mercury was measured in a variety of environmental materials gathered from the North Slope of Alaska to provide background data prior to the anticipated increase of activity in this environment. The materials were collected during the U. S. Coast Guard WEBSEC 72-73 cruises as well as through the facilities provided by Naval Arctic Research Laboratory in the spring of 1973. The method of measurement depended upon radioactivation of mercury with neutrons and the subsequent quantification of characteristic gamma radiations after radiochemical purification. Mercury concentrations in seawater at several locations in the vicinity of 151°W, 71°N averaged 20 parts per trillion. The waters from all stations east of this location showed a significantly smaller concentration. This difference may relate to penetration o f Bering- Chukchi Sea water into the southern Beaufort Sea to 151°W. Marine sediments on the shelf and slope between 143°W and 153°W contained about 100 parts per billion mercury, except for those on the continental shelf between Barter Island and the Canning River, where the concentration was less than half this value. These results are consistent with sediment input from the respective rivers when their mercury content and mineralogy are considered. The mercury content of river waters was 18 ppt and in reasonable agreement with the average of snow samples (13 ppt). The burden of mercury in plankton was 37 ppb.
    • Thermogravimetric and distillation studies on mercury, antimony and arsenic sulfides

      Town, J.W.; Rao, P.D. (University of Alaska Mineral Industry Research Laboratory, 1975)
      Thermogravimetric studies were made on naturally occurring sulfides of mercury, antimony and arsenic to determine activation energies and Arrhenius rates of reaction in vacuum and in atmospheres of air and nitrogen. Of the three sulfides only antimony showed an appreciable change in rate of reaction for the different test conditions. Distillation results on three flotation concentrates from Alaska mining operations showed that cinnabar (mercury sulfide) could be distilled in a closed system, with over 99 percent recovery of the mercury as metal when the sulfur was reacted with iron. Over 98 percent mercury recovery was obtained from a cinnabar-stibnite (antimony sulfide) concentrate, with less than 1 percent of the antimony distilled from the furnace charge. Cinnabarrealgar-orpiment (arsenic sulfides) could not be separated by distillation and large quantities of soot (condenser residue) formed with the metallic mercury in the condenser.