Description: The problem of visibility reduction in the Grand Canyon due to fine organic aerosol particles in the atmosphere has become an area of increased environmental concern. Aerosol particles can be derived from many emission sources. In this report, we focus on identifying organic aerosols derived from common vegetation in the Grand Canyon. These aerosols are expected to be significant contributors to the total atmospheric organic aerosol content. Aerosol samples from living vegetation were collected by resuspension of surface wax and resin components liberated from the leaves of vegetation common to areas of the Grand Canyon. The samples were analyzed using high-resolution gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Probable identification of compounds was made by comparison of sample spectra with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) mass spectral references and positive identification of compounds was made when possible by comparison with authentic standards as well as NIST references. Using these references, we have been able to positively identify the presence of n-alkane and n-alkanoic acid homolog series in the surface waxes of the vegetation sampled. Several monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes were identified also as possible biogenic aerosols which may contribute to the total organic aerosol abundance leading to visibility reduction in the Grand Canyon.
Date: May 1992
Creator: Hallock, K. A.; Mazurek, M. A. & Cass, G. R.