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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 654183, 9 pages
Research Article

Spatial and Temporal Variability of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Sediments from Yellow River-Dominated Margin

1MOE Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
2Qingdao Collaborative Innovation Center of Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266100, China

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 1 July 2014; Accepted 5 August 2014; Published 19 October 2014

Academic Editor: Zulin Zhang

Copyright © 2014 Su Ding et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were analyzed for surface sediments and a sediment core from the Yellow River-dominated margin. The concentration of 16 USEPA priority PAHs in surface sediments ranged from 5.6 to 175.4 ng g−1 dry weight sediment (dws) with a mean of 49.1 ng g−1 dws. From 1930 to 2011, the distribution of PAHs (37.2 to 210.6 ng g−1 dws) was consistent with the socioeconomic development of China. The PAHs’ concentration peaked in 1964 and 1986, corresponding to the rapid economic growth in China (1958–1965) and the initiation of the “Reform and Open” policy in 1978, respectively. The applications of molecular diagnostic ratios and principal component analysis suggest that PAHs are predominantly produced by the coal and biomass combustion, whereas the contribution of petroleum combustions slightly increased after the 1970s, synchronous with an increasing usage of oil and gas in China.