Title

Implications of sedimentological studies for environmental pollution assessment and management: examples from fluvial systems in North Queensland and Western Australia

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Eyre, BD & McConchie, DM 1993, 'Implications of sedimentological studies for environmental pollution assessment and management: examples from fluvial systems in North Queensland and Western Australia', Sedimentary Geology, vol. 85, pp. 235-252.

Sedimentary Geology journal home page available at http://www.elsevier.com/wps/product/cws_home/503361

Publisher's version of article available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0037-0738(93)90086-K

Abstract

Sedimentology is of increasing importance in environmental research, particularly environmental pollution studies, where past trends in environmental processes need to be combined with data on present conditions to predict likely future changes—the past and present as a key to the future. Two examples are used to illustrate the role of sedimentology in assessing the influence of major processes on the transport, accumulation, deposition and modification of contaminants in fluvial/estuarine systems and in developing environmental management plans. Example 1 shows that when assessing nutrient behaviour in fluvial/estuarine depositional settings, it is important to examine the partitioning of phosphorus between grain size fractions to evaluate the sedimentological processes which control the dispersion and trapping of these contaminants. Example 2 shows that in studies of anthropogenic metal inputs to modern depositional settings, lateral and stratigraphic trends in sediment texture and mineralogy should be examined, in addition to trends in metal loads and evaluation of the prevailing physical, chemical and biological processes that may influence metal mobility and dispersion. Clearly, basic sedimentological data should form part of any assessment of potentially contaminated sites and part of investigations into the dispersion and trapping of contaminants in fluvial systems. These data are also required for rational environmental management to ensure that planning decisions are compatible with natural environmental constraints