Spatial distribution and sources of heavy metals in natural pasture soil around copper-molybdenum mine in Northeast China.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2018 Jun 15; 154:329-336.EE
The characterization of the content and source of heavy metals are essential to assess the potential threat of metals to human health. The present study collected 140 topsoil samples around a Cu-Mo mine (Wunugetushan, China) and investigated the concentrations and spatial distribution pattern of Cr, Ni, Zn, Cu, Mo and Cd in soil using multivariate and geostatistical analytical methods. Results indicated that the average concentrations of six heavy metals, especially Cu and Mo, were obviously higher than the local background values. Correlation analysis and principal component analysis divided these metals into three groups, including Cr and Ni, Cu and Mo, Zn and Cd. Meanwhile, the spatial distribution maps of heavy metals indicated that Cr and Ni in soil were no notable anthropogenic inputs and mainly controlled by natural factors because their spatial maps exhibited non-point source contamination. The concentrations of Cu and Mo gradually decreased with distance away from the mine area, suggesting that human mining activities may be crucial in the spreading of contaminants. Soil contamination of Zn were associated with livestock manure produced from grazing. In addition, the environmental risk of heavy metal pollution was assessed by geo-accumulation index. All the results revealed that the spatial distribution of heavy metals in soil were in agreement with the local human activities. Investigating and identifying the origin of heavy metals in pasture soil will lay the foundation for taking effective measures to preserve soil from the long-term accumulation of heavy metals.