Mystery of the missing mercury at the great Salt Lake
April 27, 2017 10:29 AM - University of Utah
Around 2010, the deep waters of Utah’s Great Salt Lake contained high levels of toxic methylmercury. Mercury measurements in waterfowl surrounding the lake led to a rare human consumption advisory for ducks.
But by 2015, 90 percent of the deep mercury was gone.
The disappearance of the mercury was not due to aggressive environmental policies or a wide-ranging cleanup effort. Instead, it’s part of a story involving a large-scale unplanned chemistry experiment, a sometimes-stinky lake, and ducks – in which the mercury did not disappear. The story is told in a paper published in Environmental Science & Technology.