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Distribution and mobility of trace elements in soils and vegetation around the mining and smelting areas of Tharsis, Riotinto and Huelva, Iberian Pyrite Belt, SW Spain

Chopin, E. I. B. and Alloway, B. J. (2007) Distribution and mobility of trace elements in soils and vegetation around the mining and smelting areas of Tharsis, Riotinto and Huelva, Iberian Pyrite Belt, SW Spain. Water Air and Soil Pollution, 182 (1-4). pp. 245-261. ISSN 0049-6979

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11270-007-9336-x

Abstract/Summary

Trace elements may present an environmental hazard in the vicinity of mining and smelting activities. However, the factors controlling their distribution and transfer within the soil and vegetation systems are not always well defined. Total concentrations of up to 15,195 mg center dot kg (-1) As, 6,690 mg center dot kg(-1) Cu, 24,820 mg center dot kg(-1) Pb and 9,810 mg center dot kg(-1) Zn in soils, and 62 mg center dot kg(-1) As, 1,765 mg center dot kg(-1) Cu, 280 mg center dot kg(-1) Pb and 3,460 mg center dot kg (-1) Zn in vegetation were measured. However, unusually for smelters and mines of a similar size, the elevated trace element concentrations in soils were found to be restricted to the immediate vicinity of the mines and smelters (maximum 2-3 km). Parent material, prevailing wind direction, and soil physical and chemical characteristics were found to correlate poorly with the restricted trace element distributions in soils. Hypotheses are given for this unusual distribution: (1) the contaminated soils were removed by erosion or (2) mines and smelters released large heavy particles that could not have been transported long distances. Analyses of the accumulation of trace elements in vegetation (median ratios: As 0.06, Cu 0.19, Pb 0.54 and Zn 1.07) and the percentage of total trace elements being DTPA extractable in soils (median percentages: As 0.06%, Cu 15%, Pb 7% and Zn 4%) indicated higher relative trace element mobility in soils with low total concentrations than in soils with elevated concentrations.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3387
Uncontrolled Keywords:accumulation ratio background concentrations Cistus ladanifer contamination extent DTPA extraction Plantago coronopus soil trace elements transfer HEAVY-METAL CONTAMINATION MASSIVE SULFIDE DEPOSITS AZNALCOLLAR MINE SPILL INDUSTRIALIZED URBAN SITE PARTICULATE MATTER SOUTHWESTERN SPAIN KOLA-PENINSULA COPPER SMELTER ZINC LEAD
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