Distribution and Detection of Toxic Elements in Soil and Sediments

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 2600

Special Issue Editors

Geological Survey of Slovenia, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: geology; geochemistry; mining; environment; pollution
Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje 1000, North Macedonia
Interests: environmental chemistry; geochemistry; heavy metals; pollution; atomic spectroscopy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pollutants seep into the soils and sediments that act as nature’s decontaminate agent, where a combination of interactive processes cleanse our environment of them. Trace elements can be released into the soil by natural processes, such as chemical weathering, but their concentration and distribution in soil layers particles change due to pedogenic processes or anthropogenic elements as a direct or indirect result of human activities such as mining and energy production, agriculture and industrial activities, and careless waste disposal. Minerals are the main repositories of chemical elements in the Earth's crust, and thus, they are the main sources of elements needed for the development of civilization, as well as contaminating and polluting elements that affecting global and local ecosystems. The mining and processing of metal ores causes important environmental degradation and destruction. In mining and smelting areas, soils and sediments are affected by the disposal of mine tailings, acid mine drainage, and aerial deposition of contaminants from smelters. The exposed soils and sediments become acidified and contaminated with potentially toxic trace elements associated with polymetallic sulphides. The contamination and acidification of the soil reduce its fertility and reduce biodiversity and alter the relationship between species in the soil biota.

This Special Issue invites research papers on the various environmental aspects of soil and sediment pollution, with an emphasis on predictive soil mapping techniques to better understand the relationships between soil and the environment. Predictive soil mapping was created after the increase in computer efficiency and capacity, geo-information technology, and data availability, and it requires accurate and reliable maps. The application of novel modelling techniques and the development of realistic models play important roles in determining toxic elements and reconstructing major distribution pathways. Soil and sediment field measurements with multi-source geoscience datasets are being applied, developed, and incorporated into spatial distribution models. Regulatory issues and legal considerations are also of interest in this Special Issue. Submissions with results from different regions of the world are especially welcome to ensure a worldwide perspective on this topic.

Dr. Robert Šajn
Prof. Dr. Trajče Stafilov
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Minerals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • soil
  • sediments
  • potentially toxic elements
  • detection
  • distribution
  • pollution
  • machine learning
  • artificial neural network

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 12450 KiB  
Article
Contamination Assessment of Toxic Elements in River Sediments from Baia Mare, Romania—Extreme Pollution from Mining Activities
Minerals 2024, 14(2), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14020135 - 26 Jan 2024
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Abstract
Sediment samples from the Săsar River and its main tributaries were analyzed for their potentially toxic elements at the site of the Romplumb metallurgical company and near the well-known Pb-Zn-Cu epithermal deposit of Baia Sprie located in the Neogene volcanic chain of the [...] Read more.
Sediment samples from the Săsar River and its main tributaries were analyzed for their potentially toxic elements at the site of the Romplumb metallurgical company and near the well-known Pb-Zn-Cu epithermal deposit of Baia Sprie located in the Neogene volcanic chain of the Eastern Carpathians, Romania. The average metal concentrations arranged in order of decreasing abundance are as follows (mg·kg−1): Mn (4098) > Zn (2093) > Pb (918) > Cu (489) > As (160) > Cr (37.51) > Ni (30.25) > Co (28.13) > Cd (9.72) > Hg (1.81). Several pollution indices were successfully used to assess the degree of contamination and ecological risk. The majority of sampling sites indicate high degrees of pollution, with two major hotspots identified. There are further sources, such as the Șuior (Pb-Zn-Au) and Săsar (Au-Ag) epithermal deposits, Cuprom company, and Bozânta tailing ponds, identified as contaminants. The Baia Mare mining district is causing a serious threat to the aquatic systems in the region, and it can be taken as a reference area for the human impact derived from the mining of mineral deposits of Au-Ag-Cu-Pb-Zn. It is imperative to reduce ecological risks and thereby protect the population living within this abandoned mining area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Distribution and Detection of Toxic Elements in Soil and Sediments)
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32 pages, 10145 KiB  
Article
Application of Multivariate Statistical Methods for Determining Geochemical Trends of Elements on the Territory of Slovenia
Minerals 2024, 14(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/min14010049 - 30 Dec 2023
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Abstract
The main objective of this study is to map multi-element geochemical anomalies in soil on a regional scale. We aimed to determine and evaluate the baseline geochemical values and main geochemical trends in soil that may serve as reference values against any future [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study is to map multi-element geochemical anomalies in soil on a regional scale. We aimed to determine and evaluate the baseline geochemical values and main geochemical trends in soil that may serve as reference values against any future changes. A total of 817 topsoil samples (0–10 cm) were collected in a 5 × 5 km grid and analyzed for 35 elements using ICP-ES after multi-acid digestions (HClO4/HNO3/HCl/HF) and 53 elements using ICP-MS after modified aqua regia digestion (HCl/HNO3/H2O). The analytical results for the two different digestion methods (multi-acid digestion vs. aqua regia) were also compared for each chemical element. Multivariate statistical methods were applied to identify the geochemical trends and main sources of trace elements over the territory of Slovenia. Based on these results, seven natural and one mixed natural/anthropogenic geochemical association were established. The contents and trends of the determined factors are presented according to 8 natural units, 4 drainage areas, and geological units characteristic of Slovenia. The identified anthropogenic geochemical association combines toxic elements (Ag, Bi, Cd, Hg, P, Pb, S, Sn, and Zn). Increased values of these elements can be found in mining areas and metallurgic centers, in Quaternary sediments of the Sava River, and Adriatic Basin as the consequence of past mining activities and in the Julian Alps, where their origin could be connected to the atmospheric deposition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Distribution and Detection of Toxic Elements in Soil and Sediments)
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36 pages, 13221 KiB  
Article
Search for the Substantiation of Reasonable Native Elemental Background Values and Reference Variables in Topsoil on Glaciogenic and Postglacial Deposits in a Vilnius Peri-Urban Area
Minerals 2023, 13(12), 1513; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13121513 - 01 Dec 2023
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Abstract
Geochemical indices used to identify the emerging anomalies of potentially harmful elements in topsoil depend on background values (BVs). For urban sites, it is reasonable to estimate native BVs through the targeted selection of peri-urban sampling sites or by distinguishing a useful background [...] Read more.
Geochemical indices used to identify the emerging anomalies of potentially harmful elements in topsoil depend on background values (BVs). For urban sites, it is reasonable to estimate native BVs through the targeted selection of peri-urban sampling sites or by distinguishing a useful background subset (BS) within the peri-urban dataset. Here, the goals were to examine the influence of Quaternary deposits on various types of topsoil variables, identify the variables most helpful for cluster analysis intended for the choice of background subset (BS), and compare background values (BVs) based on different background subsets. Composite topsoil samples from a peri-urban area were used for the determination of the following variables: contents of 26 elements and components of the bulk mineralogical composition, as well as the sand, silt, and clay fractions and loss-on-ignition (LOI) at 550 °C and at 950 °C. Although Quaternary lithology influences topsoil elemental contents or granulometric fractions, percentages of illite, kaolinite, orthoclase, quartz, albite, dolomite, and LOI at 550 °C, the choice of BS, according to it, is not recommended, as BVs based on topsoil texture are superior. However, cluster analysis using topsoil fractions < 2, <63, and >63 μm or the contents of Al, Fe, K, Ti, Ga, Nb, Rb, and Si are preferable. It is recommended to use these reference variables for the selection of BS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Distribution and Detection of Toxic Elements in Soil and Sediments)
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