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, 38 (7), 2175-81

Tracing Atmospheric Nitrate Deposition in a Complex Semiarid Ecosystem Using delta17O

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Tracing Atmospheric Nitrate Deposition in a Complex Semiarid Ecosystem Using delta17O

Greg Michalski et al. Environ Sci Technol.

Abstract

The isotopic composition of nitrate collected from aerosols, fog, and precipitation was measured and found to have a large 17O anomaly with delta17O values ranging from 20 percent per thousand to 30% percent per thousand (delta17O = delta17O - 0.52(delta18O)). This 17O anomaly was used to trace atmospheric deposition of nitrate to a semiarid ecosystem in southern California. We demonstrate that the delta17O signal is a conserved tracer of atmospheric nitrate deposition and is a more robust indicator of N deposition relative to standard delta18O techniques. The data indicate that a substantial portion of nitrate found in the local soil, stream, and groundwater is of atmospheric origin and does not undergo biologic processing before being exported from the system.

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