Effect of parent material and atmospheric deposition on the potential pollution of urban soils close to mining areas
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ArsenicAtmospheric depositionCopperLeadMiningSoil pollution
Antón Vázquez-Arias, Francisco José Martín-Peinado, Annika Parviainen, Effect of parent material and atmospheric deposition on the potential pollution of urban soils close to mining areas, Journal of Geochemical Exploration, Volume 244, 2023, 107131, ISSN 0375-6742, [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gexplo.2022.107131]
SponsorshipSpanish Government IJCI-2016-27412 RTI 2018-094327-B-I00; Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities - European Regional Development Fund (ERFD); European Social Fund (ESF) of the European Commission European Commission FPU19/01989
The aim of this study is to analyse the concentration and determine the sources of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in urban soils under the influence of mining activities. To this end, topsoil samples were collected in the public parks and green areas in Minas de Riotinto (a town next to one of the largest open pit mines in the world) and Aracena (a nearby town outside the area of influence of the mine). After determining the concentrations of elements of interest –Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, and Pb— the values were compared in terms of the soil location and origin (in-situ or ex-situ), and with the background and regulatory levels for the region. The elemental concentrations in the fine fraction of the soils (particles <50 μm) were also measured. The concentrations of some PTEs (Cu, As and Pb), also found in the dust from nearby mines, were higher in the in-situ soils of Minas de Riotinto than in those of Aracena. The concentrations of PTEs in ex-situ soils of both towns were much lower than in in-situ soils, and similar between the two locations, revealing the influence of the parent material as a primary source of PTEs. However, the concentrations of As and Cu in the ex-situ soils of Minas de Riotinto were significantly higher than in those of Aracena, while a significant increase of these elements in the fine fraction was seen for both insitu and ex-situ soils. These two elements are directly related to mining activity, implying that atmospheric deposition of dust from the mines contributes to the greater concentration of PTEs in the soils of Minas de Riotinto. Because these sources lead to soils with potentially dangerous concentrations of pollutants, they should be further studied in relation to their long-term influence on human health.