A 182-year long record of trace metal concentrations of aluminum, zinc and lead was reconstructed from a massive Porites coral skeleton from southeastern Hong Kong to evaluate the impacts of anthropogenic activity on the marine environment. Zn/Ca and Pb/Ca ratios fluctuate synchronously from the early 19th century to the present, indicating that the marine environment has been anthropogenically influenced since industrialization. Additionally, land reclamation, mining, and ship building activities are recorded by elevated Al/Ca ratios from 1900 to 1950. The coral record indicates that high levels of Zn, Pb and Al occur coincidentally with local wars, and may have contributed to partial colony mortality. Pb/Ca does not correlate well with hemispheric proxy records after 1950, indicating that coastal corals may be recording local rather than hemispheric contamination. Pb/Ca levels in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Hainan corals imply a continuous supply of Pb-based contamination to southern China not reflected in hemispheric signals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science