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Dissolved and particulate zinc and nickel in the Yangtze River (China): Distribution, sources and fluxes

Wen, Yubo, Yang, Zhongfang, Xia, Xueqi
Applied geochemistry 2013 v.31 pp. 199-208
correlation, dry season, estuaries, mining, nickel, pH, particulates, river deltas, rivers, sediments, sewage, soil erosion, temporal variation, waste disposal, watersheds, zinc, China, Yangtze River
Dissolved and particulate Zn and Ni concentrations were determined at 76 locations along the Yangtze River basin from the headwaters to the estuary during flood and dry seasons. Spatial and temporal variations of Zn and Ni were investigated and six major source zones were identified. The Three Gorges Dam (TGD) blocked most of the suspended loads and extremely low concentration of Zn and Ni were observed downstream of the dam. Dissolved (ranging from 0.062 to 8.0μgL−1) and particulate (ranging from 12 to 110mgkg−1) Ni showed similar levels of concentrations during flood and dry seasons, whereas dissolved (ranging from 0.43 to 49μgL−1) and particulate (ranging from 54 to 1100mgkg−1) Zn were slightly and much lower in the flood season than dry season, respectively. This was attributed to the increased water discharge during the flood season causing a dilution effect and sediment resuspension. In the flood season, average concentrations of Zn and Ni were higher in the main channel than in tributaries, due to soil erosion and mining activities providing the dominant inputs. The situation was opposite in the dry season, attributed to the contribution of municipal sewage, industrial activities, and waste disposal. During the flood season, dissolved Zn and Ni concentrations were negatively correlated with pH. Water and suspended particulate matter (SPM) from the upper reaches, middle reaches, and lower reaches of the Yangtze River were characterized by their Zn and Ni concentrations. The Panzhihua, Nanling and Tongling mining areas were considered as the most important source zones of particulate Zn and Ni. The Chongqing region, Wuhan region and the Yangtze River Delta provided most of the dissolved Zn and Ni inputs into the river. Annual net flux of Zn (10–72×105kga−1) and Ni (5.0–19×105kga−1) in each source zone were estimated according to their respective influent and effluent fluxes. Contributions of the source zones to Zn and Ni transport decreased from the upper reaches to the lower reaches.