Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Charles T. Driscoll


Mercury, Adirondack Mountains, Huntington Wildlife Forest


The Adirondack region of New York is sensitive to atmospheric mercury deposition. In this study, the fate of mercury inputs to the Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF) of the Adirondack region was examined by conducting a mercury mass budget over the annual cycle. Mercury cycling processes analyzed included wet mercury deposition, dry mercury deposition, foliar mercury accumulation, throughfall mercury, litterfall mercury, soil mercury evasion, and soil solution mercury fluxes. The mercury transport processes were quantified by integrating data collected from different sources in recent years (2004-2011) over a monthly time step. Dry mercury deposition (16.3 µg m-2 yr-1) was more important than wet mercury deposition (6.3 µg m-2 yr-1) at the HWF. Most of the atmospheric mercury deposition (> 60%) was retained in the forest soils where litterfall (17.2 µg m-2 yr-1) was the major input pathway. Soil evasion (6.5 µg m-2 yr-1) was the most important mercury export mechanism, exceeding mercury fluxes in lateral and vertical drainage from soil (2.8 µg m-2 yr-1). This analysis showed marked seasonal variation in the transport of mercury that was strongly mediated by the forest ecosystem. The upland hardwood forest ecosystem was a net sink for atmospheric mercury deposition. Controls on mercury anthropogenic emissions would likely decrease mercury accumulation in the forest soils and lengthen the residence time of soil mercury at the HWF.


Open Access