METX Researcher finds mercury in fog

April 02, 2012

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Fogginess may be caused by fog
A research group lead by METX Researcher Peter Weiss-Penzias reported in the February issue of GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS that fog contains unusually high amounts of the neurotoxin monomethylmercury (MMHg). Dr. Weiss-Penzias and colleagues found that Santa Cruz area fog contains concentrations of MMHg that are more than 5-fold higher than previously observed MMHg concentrations in rainwater. Their work suggests that the fog may obtain the MMHg via oceanic upwelling of volatile dimethylmercury, which has its origins in mercury in the sediments. The research suggests that in locations that receive significant hydrologic inputs from fog, the fog source of MMHg may contribute up to 99% of the total MMHg burden. 

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