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Mar Environ Res. 2009 Dec;68(5):236-45. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2009.06.013. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

Natural background and anthropogenic inputs of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in sediments of South-Western Barents Sea.

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  • 1Institute of Marine Research, PB 1870 Nordnes, N-5817 Bergen, Norway.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were measured in sediment cores from 13 locations in South-Western Barents Sea as part of a detailed study of the Norwegian seabed under the MAREANO program. The generally low PAH levels found, an average around 200 ng g(-1) dry weight for sum PAH, indicate low inputs of petroleum hydrocarbons to the marine environment in the area. Differences in PAH composition and various PAH ratios indicate a natural, mostly petrogenic origin of PAH in sediments from the open sea locations, while the fjord locations show higher pyrogenic PAH contents with an increase towards upper sediment layers, indicating low inputs from human activities. Petrogenic PAH levels increase in deeper sediments at open sea locations, also when normalised to total organic carbon (TOC) contents, suggesting natural leakages of oil-related hydrocarbons in the area.

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