Distinguishing between natural and anthropogenic sources for potentially toxic elements in urban soils of Talcahuano, Chile
Tume Zapata, Pedro
King St Onge, Robert
DescriptionArtículo de publicación ISI
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Purpose The objectives of this study were (1) to determine the concentrations and background concentrations of Ba, Co, Cr, Mn, and Ni in the urban soils of Talcahuano (Chile); (2) assess the level of contamination in the urban soils based on different pollution indexes; and (3) to identify natural or anthropogenic sources in order to obtain a spatial distribution of the pollutants. Material and methods A total of 420 samples were collected from the study area as follows: 140 topsoil samples (TS) (0–10 cm), 140 subsoil samples (SS) (10–20 cm), and 140 deep soil samples (DS) (150 cm). The soils were characterized, and the concentrations of Ba, Co, Cr, Mn, and Ni were analyzed by atomic absorption photospectrometry following aqua regia digestion. Correlations and principal component analysis combined with spatial analysis were implemented in order to distinguish the sources and their classification as geogenic or anthropogenic. Several simple and robust statistical methods were applied to datasets in order to explore their potential in the evaluation of a useful and robust background values. The degree of contamination along with the geoaccumulation index, enrichment factor, and contamination factor were also evaluated. Results and discussion The median concentrations obtained for various elements includes Ba 461 mg kg−1, Co 82.7 mg kg−1, Cr 134 mg kg−1, Mn 311 mg kg−1, and Ni 56.1 mg kg−1. In general, the concentrations of Ba, Co, Cr, Mn, and Ni decrease with depth. Correlations and principal component analysis suggest that Cr, Mn, and Ni are contributed by external sources. The spatial distribution of Cr, Mn, and Ni in TS displays a spatial pattern extending along industrial environments and emission sources. Conclusions The estimated background values determined with the iterative 2σ-technique includes 536 mg kg−1 for Ba, 95.9 mg kg−1 for Co, 208 mg kg−1 for Cr, 464 mg kg−1 for Mn, and 90.5 mg kg−1 for Ni. The geochemical index, enrichment factor, and the contamination factor register a moderate to considerable contamination in some soil samples.