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27.07.2019 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 2/2020

Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment 2/2020

Heavy metal pollution associated with mining activity in the Kouh-e Zar region, NE Iran

Zeitschrift:
Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment > Ausgabe 2/2020
Autoren:
Pouya Tahmasebi, Masumeh Taheri, M. H. Mahmudy Gharaie

Abstract

The Kouh-e Zar mining area is located in the central part of the “Khaf–Bardaskan” volcanic-plutonic zone, NE Iran. Mining activity has resulted in pollution of soil and water resources by potentially toxic elements including arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), antimony (Sb), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn). In this study, the major source of heavy metal pollution and elucidating the probable environmental risks associated with this area were determined by quantifying pollution in soils and water resources. Concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn in the Kouh-e Zar mining area varied in the range of 5–470, 33–442, 25–5125, 81.15–12,096.27 and 55–4210 mg/kg, respectively. The geo-accumulation index for Cd in all samples was extremely high (Igeo > 5) and the enrichment factor also shows an extremely high amount (EF > 40), both representing evidence for highly polluted soil in the area. However, the coefficients of aqueous migration (Kx) of Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn were Kx < 0.1, so they are classified as “least mobile and inert” grade. Also, the heavy metals tend to remain in soil (solid environment). Cluster analysis (CA) determined the lithogenic origin for Zn, Cu, Cr and Cd, and the anthropogenic origin (mining activity) for Pb in the soils of the mining area. The concentrations of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in water are controlled by free Fe and Mn oxy-hydroxide content in the soils. Both water–rock interaction and mining activity have contributed to pollution in the area.

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