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Source apportionment and source-to-sink transport of major and trace elements in coastal sediments: Combining positive matrix factorization and sediment trend analysis

Li, Tao, Sun, Guihua, Yang, Chupeng, Liang, Kai, Ma, Shengzhong, Huang, Lei, Luo, Weidong
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.651 pp. 344-356
aluminum oxide, anthropogenic activities, barium, bioactive properties, calcium oxide, carbonates, chromium, clay, coastal sediments, cobalt, copper, emissions, ferric oxide, lead, magnesium oxide, manganese oxides, marine environment, marine sediments, nickel, organic carbon, sand, sediment transport, silica, silt, strontium, titanium dioxide, vanadium, weathering, zinc, zirconium
Major and trace elemental concentrations in coastal marine sediments were incorporated into positive matrix factorization (PMF) to identify potential sources and source contributions. Transport pathways of fine-grained sediments and sediment-bound elements were inferred from sediment trend analysis (STA). The spatial distribution patterns of 21 elements (Co, Cu, Ni, Sr, Zn, V, Ba, Sc, Ga, Pb, Cr, Zr, SiO2, Al2O3, Fe2O3, MgO, CaO, K2O, MnO, TiO2, and P2O5) coupled with sediment grain sizes were investigated. The natural and anthropogenic sources of the elements were distinguished by their medium enrichment factors (EFs). Seven sources were recognized by PMF: weathering products, anthropologic emissions, sand, older sediment, biogenic carbonates, products of siliceous organisms, and mine exploitation. Some land-derived elements, including weathering products, anthropogenic-related elements, and mining-related elements, had a significant positive correlation with sediment silt, clay, and organic carbon contents. The spatial patterns of the land-derived elements' concentrations and source contributions were consistent with the sediment transport pathways inferred from the STA. This result revealed that the delivery of the land-derived elements was determined by marine current flows and the associated sediment transport processes. Conversely, elements originating from marine sources, such as sand and older sediment, and from the biological activities of calcareous and siliceous organisms showed little response to sediment transport and deposition processes. Our study links the outputs of statistically oriented approaches (e.g., PMF) to a process-based understanding of elemental transport in marine environments.