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Abstract / Description of output
Constraining the main sediment sources and pathways across landscapes impacted by anthropogenic activity is essential to limit the dispersal of sediment-borne contaminants, especially in global conservation priority areas. This study examined the provenance, partitioning, and enrichment of metals in the floodplain of the mining-affected Santa Cruz catchment, The Philippines. Composite geochemical fingerprinting of fine sediment samples (n = 36) was performed using a stepwise statistical screening procedure (range test, Kruskal-Wallis H test, discriminant function analysis) to derive the optimum set of tracers. Using a standard unmixing model, flood deposits downstream of the mining areas were shown to be predominantly mining-induced (71.9 ± 7.7 %), followed by natural erosion from gullies and stream banks (15.1 ± 11.0 %) and agricultural sediment (13.0 ± 5.1 %). Element partitioning data (Log Kd = 1.3–6.6) during a high flow event indicated that metals are dominantly associated and transported via suspended particulate matter. Background concentrations of Ni and Cr were found to be orders of magnitude higher than the threshold values set by international sediment quality guidelines (SQGs), emphasizing the need for site-specific SQGs in mineralised areas. Enrichment factor values indicated low to significant contamination of flood deposits relative to natural and agricultural sediment (EF 1.0–5.5). Furthermore, it was demonstrated that using different conservative elements could considerably influence the enrichment factor calculation. Based on tracer screening tests, Th was shown to be the most suitable reference element. The findings provide new insights on the application of geochemical tracers in a mining setting and integrating fingerprinting approaches with traditional assessment techniques to improve the reliability of contamination risk assessment in other areas facing similar sediment pollution problems.
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- 1 Finished
Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry Laboratory and Mass Spectrometry Laboratories (ICP)
Laetitia Pichevin (Manager)School of Geosciences