Tracing geochemical pollutants in stream water and soil from mining activity in an alpine catchment

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Chemosphere, 2020, 242
Issue Date:
2020-03-01
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd This research developed a method of tracing major water chemical parameters (WCP) and soil heavy metals (HM) to identify the processes of mining pollution in topographically complex landscapes. Ninety-nine spatially distributed water samples were collected to characterise the hydrochemical characteristics of an alpine river in north-west China. Sixty river WCP and fifty-six soil HM samples from areas near mining sites were then used to analyse the mining pollution process. Geographical and mining activity characteristics were derived from topographic and mine site information. The occurrence of sulphates (SO42−) and nitrates (NO3−) in river water were highly correlated (up to 0.70), providing strong evidence of pollution from nearby mining activities. Levels of arsenic and cadmium were high in first and fifth order streams, where mining activities were most concentrated. The modelling results showed that geographical patterns and mining activity account for predicting HM distribution, and WCP can be reasonable predictors to trace soil mining pollution. This research can help improve the accuracy of predicting the mining pollution process.
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