Source of the elemental concentrations


Premium Member
G'day Dr Ron,
I was wondering what source you used for the natural seawater concentrations of elements you used in this month's article. Were they measured in the tank water survey? The values you have appear significantly lower than those I have in a couple of references (After Horne, 1969 in Gross, 1977; Goldberg, 1963 in Tait, 1972).

Not sure if this table will show well:
<font face="courier">Element Shimek   Horne   Goldberg
As      0.001723 0.003   0.003
Cu      0.000254 0.003   0.003
Fe      0.000254 0.01    0.01
Ni      0.000470 0.0054  0.002
V       0.001527 0.002   0.002
Zn      0.000392 0.01    0.01</font>

While arsenic and vanadium are within the same range, the others are different by at least one order of magnitude and zinc is nearly two orders of magnitude.

One think worth noting is that my two references give their values in mg/L where as your article is in mg/kg, but that would only make a slight variation to the values.


In Memoriam
Hi Andrew,

See my article in the March, [rk], where these concentrations were discussed in detail. In essence, sources before the mid-1990's give concentrations that are incorrect.

My sources for concentrations are from Pilson's 1998 text.

Pilson, M. E. Q. 1998. An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Sea. Prentice-Hall. 431 pp.