Airborne particulate matter (PM) in urban areas is derived from a combination of natural and anthropogenic sources. To identify PM sources and their effects on air quality, we collected PM using active filter samplers over a two-year period in the urban Wasatch Front, northern Utah, an area affected by multiple pollution sources. Filters from active samplers and other PM samples were analyzed for major and trace element concentrations and 87Sr/86Sr ratios. We identified wind-blown mineral dust from dry lake beds, winter inversions, and fireworks as primary PM sources affecting air quality in the Wasatch Front. Dust contributes Al, Be, Ca, Co, Cs, Fe, Li, Mg, Mn, Rb, Th, U, Y, and REEs which are typical components of carbonate and silicate minerals. Winter inversions entrap As, Cd, Mo, Pb, Sb, Tl, and Zn from brake dust, combustion engine exhaust, and refining processes. Concentrations of common components of fireworks Ba, Cu, K, and Sr greatly increase (>4 times) during holidays. Strontium released from fireworks has a distinct 87Sr/86Sr ratio that dominates the isotopic composition of PM during holidays. Fireworks have 87Sr/86Sr ratios of <0.7080 compared with 0.7100 for Sevier Dry Lake and 0.7150 for Great Salt Lake lakebed. Sources of particulate matter vary seasonally. Dust events dominate the air quality signature during spring and summer while winter inversions occur from November through February. Transport of PM to mountain snowpack negatively affect water quality. This is the first study to describe variations in multiple PM sources and their potential health effects in Utah, USA



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Geological Sciences



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dust, fireworks, inversions, air quality, strontium isotopes, trace elements, particulate matter, Wasatch Front