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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-452
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-452
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 18 Jun 2018

Research article | 18 Jun 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Magnetic signatures of natural and anthropogenic sources of urban dust aerosol

Haijiao Liu1,2, Yan Yan3, Hong Chang1, Hongyun Chen4, Lianji Liang5, Xingxing Liu1, Xiaoke Qiang1, and Youbin Sun1,6 Haijiao Liu et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, 710061, China
  • 2College of Earth Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
  • 3Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, 510640, China
  • 4Research Center for Loess and Global Changes, Institute of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Shijiazhuang, 050803, China
  • 5College of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Beijing University of Technology, Beijing, 100124, China
  • 6Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, 710049, China

Abstract. The characteristics of urban dust aerosols and the contributions of their natural and anthropogenic sources are of scientific interest as well as being of substantial sociopolitical and economic concern. Here we present the results of a comprehensive study of dust flux and magnetic signatures, including magnetic susceptibility (χ) and the morphology and elemental composition of magnetic particulates, of atmospheric dustfall originating from natural dust sources in East Asia and local anthropogenic sources in Xi'an, China. The results reveal a significant inverse relationship, on a seasonal basis, between variations in dust flux and χ. By comparing χ records of desert surface sediments and local polluted dust, the relative contributions of natural and anthropogenic sources can be estimated for the urban atmospheric dustfall. Analysis using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) combined with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) indicates that magnetic particulates from different sources have distinctive morphological and elemental characteristics. Detrital magnetic particles originating from natural sources are characterized by relatively smooth surfaces with Fe and O as the major elements and a minor contribution from Ti. The anthropogenic particles have angular, spherule, aggregate, and porous shapes with distinctive contributions from marker elements, including S, Cr, Cu, Zn, Ni, Mn and Ca. Our results demonstrate that this multidisciplinary approach is effective in distinguishing dust derived from distant natural sources and local anthropogenic sources, and for quantitative assessment of the contributions of the two end-members.

Haijiao Liu et al.
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Short summary
The characteristics of urban dust aerosols are of substantial sociopolitical and economic concern. Environmental magnetism and SEM-EDS are used to study urban dust pollution in our work, since they are rapid, and non-destructive. We found that atmospheric dustfall in Xi'an originating from natural dust sources in East Asia and local anthropogenic sources, and magnetic particulates from different sources have distinctive morphological and elemental characteristics.
The characteristics of urban dust aerosols are of substantial sociopolitical and economic...
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