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Horizontal and vertical variability of soil properties in a trace element contaminated area

AutorBurgos, Pilar ; Madejón, Engracia ; Pérez de Mora, Alfredo ; Cabrera, Francisco
Palabras claveContaminated soils
Kriging maps
Trace elements
Fecha de publicaciónfeb-2008
CitaciónInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 10: 11–25(2008)
ResumenThe spatial distribution of some soil chemical properties and trace element contents of a plot affected by the Aznalcóllar mine spill were investigated using statistical and geostatistical methods to assess the extent of soil contamination. Total and EDTA-extractable soil trace element concentrations and total S content showed great variability and high coefficients of variation in the three examined depths. Soil in the plot was found to be significantly contaminated by As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn within a wide range of pH. Total trace element concentrations at all depths (0–60 cm) were much higher than background values of non-affected soil, indicating that despite the clean-up operations, the concentration of trace elements in the experimental plot was still high. The spatial distribution of the different variables was estimated by kriging to design contour maps. These maps allowed the identification of specific zones with high metal concentrations and low pH values corresponding to spots of residual sludge. Moreover, kriged maps showed distinct spatial distribution and hence different behaviour for the elements considered. This information may be applied to optimise remediation strategies in highly and moderately contaminated areas.
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