Geovisualization of Mercury Contamination in Lake St. Clair Sediments
journal contributionposted on 2021-05-21, 17:10 authored by K. Wayne Forsythe, Chris H. Marvin, Christine J. Valancius, James P. Watt, Joseph M. Aversa, Stephen J. Swales, Daniel J. Jakubek, Richard Ross Shaker
The Laurentian Great Lakes of North America contain approximately 20% of the earth’s fresh water. Smaller lakes, rivers and channels connect the lakes to the St. Lawrence Seaway, creating an interconnected freshwater and marine ecosystem. The largest delta system in the Great Lakes is located in the northeastern portion of Lake St. Clair. This article focuses on the geovisualization of total mercury pollution from sediment samples that were collected in 1970, 1974 and 2001. To assess contamination patterns, dot maps were created and compared with surfaces that were generated using the kriging spatial interpolation technique. Bathymetry data were utilized in geovisualization procedures to develop three-dimensional representations of the contaminant surfaces. Lake St. Clair generally has higher levels of contamination in deeper parts of the lake, in the dredged shipping route through the lake and in proximity to the main outflow channels through the St. Clair delta. Mercury pollution levels were well above the Probable Effect Level in large portions of the lake in both 1970 and 1974. Lower contaminant concentrations were observed in the 2001 data. Lake-wide spatial distributions are discernable using the kriging technique; however, they are much more apparent when they are geovisualized using bathymetry data.