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The Distribution of Geogenic and Anthropogenic Rare Earth Elements and Yttrium in Major European Rivers: The PANORAMA River Monitoring

Rare earth elements and yttrium (REY) are vital components in numerous high-technology products and processes. Consequently, they are continuously released into the environment from various point and diffuse sources and have become emerging micro-contaminants in natural waters. The presence of anthropogenic Gd due to the release of Gd-based MRI contrast agents via the effluents from waste water treatment plants is well-documented from all continents except Antarctica. Contamination with anthropogenic La has been reported for the lower reaches of the Rhine River in Germany. However, in spite of these observations of anthropogenic REY in the environment, a systematic overview on the distribution of all naturally occurring geogenic and anthropogenic REY in major European rivers and lakes is still lacking. To fill this gap, waters and organisms (with a focus on mussels) from rivers and lakes in the European Union are studied as part of the EU-ITN “PANORAMA”.

We will report first results from recent sampling campaigns, including samples from the Danube River and its major tributaries between its headwaters in southwestern Germany and just downstream of Belgrade, Serbia, from the Seine River in the vicinity of Paris, France, and for major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal and southern Spain. These will be compared to data for rivers in the North German Basin (Ems, Weser, Elbe, Havel), the Rhine River and its tributaries between Lake Constance and the German-Dutch border, and several major rivers on the Fennoscandian Shield in Sweden and Norway.


Addis Kokeb Alemu1, Keran Zhang2, Franziska Klimpel2, Anna-Lena Zocher2, Michael Bau2
1Jacobs University Bremen, Germany; University of Gondar, Ethiopia; 2Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
GeoMinKöln 2022