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Assessment and potential sources of metals in the surface sediments of the Yellow River Delta, Eastern China

Cheng, Qingli, Lou, Guangyan, Huang, Wenhai, Li, Xudong
Environmental science and pollution research international 2017 v.24 no.21 pp. 17446-17454
agricultural land, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, dry deposition, estuaries, fluorescence emission spectroscopy, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, pollution, risk, river deltas, seawater, sediments, wetlands, zinc, China, Yellow River
The Yellow River Delta is the most intact estuary wetland in China and suffers from great pressure of metals. Seventy-seven surface sediment samples were collected in the delta, and contents of Cu, Pb, Cd, Cr, Zn, Ni, and Mn were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma spectrometry and those of Hg and As by atomic fluorescence spectrometry. The results showed that means of metal contents (ppm, dry weight) were as follows: Hg, 0.04; Cr, 61.72; Cu, 20.97; Zn, 60.73; As, 9.47; Pb, 21.91; Cd, 0.12; Ni, 27.24; and Mn, 540.48. 43.8% of Hg and 14.3% of Cd were from the allogenic source while others from the authigenic source. The results of the geoaccumulation indexes appeared that 6.5% of sites from the estuarine and the Gudao areas were moderately polluted by Hg. All ecological risk index values of Hg and 37.7% of Cd were more than 40, which were the main factors of strongly and moderately potential ecological risks of 37.7% of sites in the delta. High Cd contents may be due to the alkaline conditions of the delta and the unreasonable management of the farmland, while the abnormal distribution of Hg to the wet or dry deposition and the erosion of the seawater. It was suggested to monitor Hg content in the atmosphere of the Yellow River Delta. The results were expected to update the pollution status of metals in the delta and created awareness of preserving the sound condition of the Yellow River Delta.