Spatial distribution, mineralogy, and weathering of heavy metals in soils along zinc-concentrate ground transportation routes: implication for assessing heavy metal sources

Man Jae Kwon, Ju Yeon Lee, Yun Ho Hwang, Soo kyung Jeon, Jung Seok Yang, Seong Taek Yun, Seunghak Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated the source of heavy metals in soils at a site in South Korea, where a ground transportation of zinc-concentrates (ZnS, sphalerite) occurs daily. Seventy soil samples were collected at the site and analyzed for residual concentrations of heavy metals, as well as their chemical and mineralogical properties. Enrichment factor was calculated based on local geochemical background level of metals in soils and confirmed the contamination of soils in the area by an anthropogenic source. The concentration data were also subjected to a Pearson correlation analysis to determine the possible influences of anthropogenic sources and identify the primary source. A slight negative correlation between heavy metals and Al, and a weak correlation between heavy metals and Fe implied that the heavy metals originated from anthropogenic inputs rather than a geogenic source. A strong positive linear correlation between Zn and other heavy metals (i.e., As, Cd, Cu, Pb, r ≥ 0.96, p ≤ 0.001) suggested the influence of a single anthropogenic source of zinc-concentrates containing all of these heavy metals. Zinc-concentrate oxidation and leaching experiments, which mimicked physical and chemical weathering in the environment, indicated that zinc-concentrate could be transformed to zinc oxides and release Cd and Pb upon precipitation. The findings in this study provide an insight into the fate of the Zn that the original form of zinc-concentrate would not remain in the soil after long-term weathering, which should be considered when source of heavy metals is identified.

Original languageEnglish
Article number802
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Volume76
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

Keywords

  • Heavy metals
  • Pearson correlation
  • Soil contamination
  • Source identification
  • Zinc-concentrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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