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College of Natural Science and Mathematics, Chemistry and Biochemistry


Chemistry, Atmospheric chemistry, Photochemistry, Iron


Atmospheric iron solubility varies depending on whether the particles are collected in rural or urban areas, with urban areas showing increased iron solubility. In this study, we investigate if the iron species present in different environments affects its ultimate solubility. Field data are presented from the Platte River Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (PRAPPE), aimed at understanding the interactions between organic carbon and trace elements in atmospheric particulate matter (PM). 24-hr PM2.5 samples were collected during the summer and winter (2016–2017), at three different sites on the Eastern Colorado plains: an urban, agricultural, and a mixed site. Downtown Denver had an average total and water-soluble iron air concentration of 181.2 and 7.7 ng m−3, respectively. Platteville, the mixed site, had an average of total iron of 76.1 ng m−3, with average water-soluble iron concentration of 9.1 ng m−3. Jackson State Park (rural/agricultural) had the lowest total iron average of 31.5 ng m−3 and the lowest water-soluble iron average, 1.3 ng m−3. The iron oxidation state and chemical speciation of 97 samples across all sites and seasons was probed by X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy. The most common iron phases observed were almandine (Fe₃Al₂Si₃O₁₂) (Denver 21%, Platteville 16%, Jackson 24%), magnetite (Fe3O4) (Denver 9%, Platteville 4%, Jackson 5%) and Fe (III)dextran (Denver 5%, Platteville 13%, Jackson 5%), a surrogate for Fe-organic complexes. Additionally, native iron [Fe(0)] was found in significant amounts at all sites. No correlation was observed between iron solubility and iron oxidation state or chemical speciation.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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This article was originally published as:

Salazar, J. R., Pfotenhauer, D. J., Leresche, F., Rosario-Ortiz, F. L., Hannigan, M. P., Fakra, S. C., & Majestic, B. J. (2020). Iron speciation in PM2.5 from urban, agriculture, and mixed environments in Colorado, USA. Earth and Space Science, 7(10), e2020EA001262.

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Joseph R. Salazar, David J. Pfotenhauer, Frank Leresche, Fernando L. Rosario-Ortiz, Michael P. Hannigan, Sirine C. Fakra, Brian Majestic


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English (eng)


10 pgs

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2.2 MB

Publication Title

Earth and Space Science



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