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A preliminary investigation into mining and smelting impacts on trace element concentrations in the soils and vegetation around Tharsis, SW Spain

Chopin, E. I. B., Black, S., Hodson, M. E., Coleman, M. L. and Alloway, B. J. (2003) A preliminary investigation into mining and smelting impacts on trace element concentrations in the soils and vegetation around Tharsis, SW Spain. Mineralogical Magazine, 67 (2). pp. 279-288.

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1180/0026461036720099

Abstract/Summary

Toxic trace elements present an environmental hazard in the vicinity of mining and smelting activities. However. the processes of transfer of these elements to groundwater and to plants are not always clear. Tharsis mine. in the Iberian pyrite belt (SW Spain), has been exploited since 2500 BC, with extensive smelting, taking place front the 1850S until the 1920s. Sixty four soil (mainly topsoils) and vegetation samples were collected in February 2001 and analysed by ICP-AES for 23 elements. Concentrations are 6-6300 mg kg(-1) As and 14-24800 mg kg(-1) Pb in soils, and 0.20-9 mg kg(-1) As and 2-195 mg Pb in vegetation. Trace element concentrations decrease rapidly away from the mine. with As and Pb concentrations in the range 6-1850 mg kg(-1) (median 22 mg kg(-1)) and 14-31 mg, kg(-1) (median 43 mg, kg(-1)), respectively, 1 km away from the mine. These concentrations are low when compared to other well-studied mining and smelting areas (e.g. 600 mg kg(-1) As at 8 km from Yellowknife smelter, Canada; >100 mg kg(-1) Pb over 270 km(2) around the Pb-Zn Port Pirie smelter. South Australia: mean of 1419 mg kg(-1) Pb around Aberystwyth smelter, Wales, UK). The high metal content of the vegetation and the low soil pH (mean pH 4.93) indicate the potential for trace element mobility which Could explain the relatively low concentration of metals in Tharsis topsoils and cause threats to plans to redevelop the Tharsis area as an orange plantation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3389
Uncontrolled Keywords:mining smelting Tharsis Spain arsenic lead ICP-AES
Additional Information: Conference Information: Spring Meeting of the Mineralogical-Society KINGSTON UNIV, KINGSTON, ENGLAND, APR, 2001 Mineral Soc

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