A new index to evaluate anomalies of trace elements in soils: the case of SE Spain

M. Sierra, M. Díez, F.J. Martínez, J. Fernández, J. Aguilar

Abstract


In this work, an index is established to detect anomalies in trace elements in the soil. This index, which relates the total concentration of each element with the regional geochemical background value of the element considered, was defined by studying the levels of trace elements from different soils located in SE Spain. In the area, a previous screening of trace elements detected seven zones with anomalies and revealed two conflictive areas: Sierra Gador and Cabo de Gata. In each zone, a second sampling was undertaken at two different depths (0-20 cm and 20-40 cm). The results indicate that the main anomalies were due to arsenic (As), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn). In Sierra Gador Pb was the element that registered the highest rate of enrichment with respect to the regional geochemical background, reaching values up to 270-fold higher in some samples. In this zone, more than 50% of the samples were anomalous in any of the trace elements studied (higher than regional geochemical background). In Cabo de Gata, As concentration was higher than the geochemical background in more than 40% of the samples; meanwhile Pb concentration was higher in 50% of the samples.

Keywords


SPAIN; SOIL POLLUTION; HEAVY METALS; SOIL DEGRADATION; SOIL ANALYSIS

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2009074-1106