Main content area

Mobility and eco-risk of trace metals in soils at the Hailuogou Glacier foreland in eastern Tibetan Plateau

Bing, Haijian, Wu, Yanhong, Zhou, Jun, Liang, Jianhong, Wang, Jipeng, Yang, Zijiang
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.6 pp. 5721-5732
A horizons, cadmium, copper, glaciers, lead, polluted soils, risk assessment, soil depth, soil organic matter, soil pH, sorption, watersheds, zinc, China
The concentrations and fractions of cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) in soils collected from Hailuogou Glacier foreland in eastern Tibetan Plateau were analyzed to decipher their mobility, and their eco-risk was assessed combined with multiple environmental indices. The concentrations of Cd were more than ten times higher than its local background in the O horizon and nearly three times higher in the A horizon. The concentrations of Pb and Zn were relatively high in the O horizon, whereas that of Cu increased with soil depth. The main fractions of metals in the surface horizons were reducible and acid-soluble for Cd, oxidizable and residual for Cu, reducible and oxidizable for Pb, and reducible and residual for Zn. The metal mobility generally followed the order of Cd > Pb > Zn > Cu in the O horizon and Cd > Pb > Cu > Zn in the A horizon. Sorption and complexation by soil organic matters imparted an important effect on the mobilization and transformation of Cd, Pb, and Zn in the soils. The oxidizable Cu fraction in the soils showed significant correlation with organic matters, and soil pH mainly modulated the acid-soluble and reducible Cu fractions. The concentrations and other environmental indices including contamination factor, enrichment factor, geoaccumulation index, and risk assessment index revealed that Cd reached high contamination and very high eco-risk, Pb had medium contamination but low eco-risk, Zn showed low contamination and low eco-risk, and Cu was not contaminated in the soils. The data indicated that Cd was the priority to concern in the soils of Hailuogou Glacier catchment.