COMPARISON OF THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF MINERAL PARTICLES COLLECTED IN DUNHUANG, CHINA AND THOSE COLLECTED IN THE FREE TROPOSPHERE OVER JAPAN: POSSIBLE CHEMICAL MODIFICATION DURING LONG-RANGE TRANSPORT


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Abstract

The Asian continent is recognized as one of the most important sources of mineral (or soil) particles. These particles have a large potential to effect global changes through the biogeochemical cycle of particulates and through radiative balance (IPCC Third Assessment Report, 2001). Therefore, comparison of particle compositions near the source region and those after long-range transport is important in understanding the long-range particle transport phenomenon. Individual aerosol particles were collected in Dunhuang (40°09′N; 94°41′E), China. Particles were collected at the campus of the Meteorological Bureau of Dunhuang City (17 August 2001) and near the Mogao Grots, located approximately 30 km from Dunhuang (18 August 2001, 18 October 2001 and 13 January 2002) using a two-stage low-volume impactor. The morphology of individual aerosol particles and their elemental compositions were examined via a scanning electron microscope (Hitachi, S-3000N) equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analyzer (Horiba, EMAX-500). The particles collected at these locations were comprised primarily of minerals, with the exception of sulphate particles in the submicron range that were contained in the sample collected on 18 October 2001 (likely, ammonium sulphate). The most abundant elements were found to be Si and Al. Approximately 46–77% of the collected particles were Si-rich particles (composed primarily of quartz and aluminosilicate), and 13–41% of the collected particles were Ca-rich particles, such as calcite (CaCO3), dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2), and gypsum (CaSO4ċ2H2O). The fractions of Fe-rich, Mg-rich, Ti-rich, K-rich, and Cl-rich were 3–10, 0–7, 0–3, 0–1, and 0–1%, respectively. Similar types of mineral particles were found in the free troposphere over Japan (Trochkine et al., 2002). A number of differences were found to exist between the particles collected in China and those collected in Japan, and these differences can be explained by chemical modification of the particles during transport from China to Japan.

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