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|Created:||Jul 27, 2023 at 1:15 p.m.|
|Last updated:|| Jul 31, 2023 at 3:36 p.m.
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Strontium (Sr) isotopes, particularly the 87Sr/86Sr ratio, are increasingly utilized in dust studies for identifying sources and tracking transport pathways. This pilot study conducted in Millcreek City, Utah, USA, leverages Sr isotopes as a tracer to quantify the contribution of dust from the Kilgore Quarry, near the mouth of Parley's Canyon, to local dust deposition. A dust sample was collected from the exterior wall of a utility shed in the Canyon Rim neighborhood, where it has been accumulating dust transported by canyon winds over several years. Analysis of the dust sample was performed in the University of Utah's Geology and Geophysics Department's ICPMS laboratory.
Comparison with baseline Sr isotope ratios from dust samples collected in the Salt Lake City area in 2017-2018 and bedrock samples from the TwinCreek Limestone were undertaken. The data indicated that the Canyon Rim dust sample had a significantly different Sr isotope ratio compared to the baseline, suggesting a distinct dust source. Utilizing a mass fractionation estimate, it was determined that approximately 60.35% of the dust sample was sourced from the Kilgore Quarry. Wind data collected at the quarry site by UDOT since 2008 further corroborated this finding, indicating prevailing winds that align with Parleys Canyon's axis, thereby facilitating dust transport from the quarry to the Salt Lake Valley.
This study underscores the effectiveness of Sr isotopes in dust source identification, demonstrating that a significant portion of dust in the study area can be attributed to the Kilgore Quarry. The results underline the importance of dust management at the quarry to minimize environmental and potential health impacts. The study also sets a precedent for further investigations that could provide additional insights into dust sources and transport pathways, aiding in environmental protection and public health initiatives.
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