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Characterization of colloidal arsenic at two abandoned gold mine sites in Nova Scotia, Canada, using asymmetric flow-field flow fractionation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

Tindale, Kathryn J, Patel, Pritesh J, Wallschläger, Dirk
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2016 v.49 pp. 189-196
arsenic, colloids, gold, hydroxides, iron, mass spectrometry, minerals, soil pore water, Nova Scotia
Asymmetric flow-field flow fractionation-inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry was used to determine whether colloidal arsenic (As) exists in soil pore water and soil extract samples at two arsenic-contaminated abandoned gold mines (Montague and Goldenville, Nova Scotia). Colloidal arsenic was found in 12 out of the 80 collected samples (=15%), and was primarily associated with iron (Fe) in the encountered colloids. The molar Fe/As ratios indicate that the colloids in some samples appeared to be discrete iron–arsenic minerals, whereas in other samples, they were more consistent with As-rich iron (oxy)hydroxides. Up to three discrete size fractions of colloidal As were encountered in the samples, with mean colloid diameters between 6 and 14nm. The pore water samples only contained one size fraction of As-bearing colloids (around 6nm diameter), while larger As-bearing colloids were only encountered in soil extracts.