Estimating Recent Sedimentation Rates Using Lead-210 in Tropical Estuarine Systems: Case Study of Volta and Pra Estuaries in Ghana, West Africa
- Corresponding Author:
- Emmanuel K
Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences
University of Ghana, Legon
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: April 14, 2016; Accepted date: June 21, 2016; Published date: June 28, 2016
Citation: Elvis N, Emmanuel K, Abdelmourhit L, Benmansour M (2016) Estimating Recent Sedimentation Rates Using Lead-210 in Tropical Estuarine System: Case Study of Volta and Pra Estuaries in Ghana, West Africa. J Oceanogr Mar Res 4:141.
Copyright: © 2016 Elvis N, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The Volta River and its basin form about one-third of Ghana's total land area and contributes significantly to the hydrological network of the country’s river system while River Pra basin is noted for large and small scale mining activities within it. Both river systems are important for sediment delivery for beach nourishment along Ghana’s coast. This work presents the first ever estimates of the sedimentation rates at the estuaries of these rivers using 40 cm long sediment cores. Sediment accumulation rates were estimated using the 210Pb sediment dating technique which is based on alpha and gamma emitting radionuclides. The total 210Pb concentration in the sediment was measured with an alpha spectrometer while the activities of supported 210Pb and 137Cs were measured with a gamma spectrometer with high germanium n-type detector. The unsupported 210Pb was determined by subtraction of the supported from the total at each core sediment level. Irregularities in the 210Pb activity versus depth profile, indicated variation in the net sedimentation accumulation rate during the past 96 and 182 years at the Volta and Pra estuaries, respectively. From the CRS model calculations, sedimentation rates varied markedly before (1.1 gcm-2y-1) and after (0.5 gcm-2y-1) construction of the Akosombo dam resulting in about 50% drop in sedimentation rate at the Volta estuary. Sediment accumulation rates were relatively low at the Pra estuary compared to the Volta estuary. Depositional fluxes of 210Pb were 190.1 ± 15.9 Bqcm-1y-1 and 217.8 ± 11.8 Bqcm-1y-1 in Pra and Volta estuaries respectively. 137Cs profile did not show defined peaks. However, the ages and sedimentation rates were better explained using historical events and anthropogenic activities that occurred within the catchment areas, providing a better understanding of deficit in sediment budget caused by hydric erosion processes prevailing in the Ada and Keta beaches in Ghana, due to reduction of sediment input from the Volta estuary.