This study employed chemical characterisation to determine the source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the terrestrial soils of King George Island, Antarctica. The total concentrations of 12 PAHs in the samples of terrestrial soils collected at 44 sites ranged from 1.83 to 32.9 ng g-1 with an average value of 10.8 ± 8.22 ng g-1. The concentrations of these PAHs were relatively lower compared with those found in other studies in other locations.
The spatial distributions of PAHs showed the highest concentrations to be in areas adjacent to the Great Wall Station and the road network, and light molecular weight PAHs were predominant. Three- and four-ring PAHs were the most abundant, representing 48.3% and 27.1% of the total, respectively. Although the binary diagnostic ratios indicated petrogenic sources as the main PAH-emission sources, principal components analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis suggested that electricity generators (22.84%) and light-duty gasoline (18.94%) are the main sources in the soil of King George Island, Antarctica.