Geological and Environmental Engineering | Article | Published 2009-11-06

Heavy Metal Distribution in Soils near the Almalyk Mining and Smelting Industrial Area, Uzbekistan

Authors:

Obidjon KODIROV

Publisher: Wiley
Collection: Acta Geologica Sinica
Keywords: heavy metals, mining and smelting industry, soil pollution

Abstract

The present study demonstrates distribution and chemical forms of heavy metals in soils of the Almalyk mining and smelting industrial area along five transects. The study area is located in Almalyk, Uzbekistan, where the intensification of industrial enterprises negatively impacts the environment. The distribution of 17 heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Pb, Sc, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Ga, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Ba, Th, and U) were studied in 21 sampling locations (21x3=63 soil samples) along five radial transects with a total length of 60 km downwind deposition gradient. Soil samples were collected from the upper layer (0-10 cm) at 4-6 km intervals. As a result of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry analyses by using X -ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF, Philips Analytical Ink, USA ), a significant decrease in heavy metal (Cu, Zn, Pb) deposition was found going from the source in a downwind direction. Soil samples taken from the first location (near the pollution sources) showed higher concentrations of Cu, Zn and Pb, and lower concentrations with increasing distance from the source. Obtained data showed different impact of pollution sources to heavy metal deposition and distribution in soils. The Almalyk mining and smelting complex is the major source of Pb, Zn and Cu enrichment in soils. Distribution of other trace elements does not exceed background content and suggests lithogenic background. This allowed us to divide these elements into two groups: (1) technogenic (Cu, Zn and Pb); and (2) lithogenic (Sc, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Ga, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Ba, Th and U) origins.

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