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Grösslová, Z., Vaněk, A., Oborná, V., Mihaljevič, M., Ettler, V., Trubač, J., Drahota, P., Penížek, V., Pavlů, L., Sracek, O., Kříbek, B., Voegelin, A., Göttlicher, J., Drábek, O., Tejnecký, V., Houška, J., Mapani, B. and Zádorová, T. 2018. Thallium contamination of desert soil in Namibia: Chemical, mineralogical and isotopic insights. Environmental Pollution, 239: 272-280


Description:

Thallium contamination of desert soil in Namibia: Chemical, mineralogical and isotopic insights.

Summary / Notes:

We studied arid desert soils from Namibia (Rosh Pinah) that were contaminated with up to 7 mg kg−1 of thallium (Tl) via dust emitted from a local flotation tailing dam. Chemical extractions of waste and soil materials indicated that most of the Tl is strongly bound, in accordance with X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy data that point to the predominant association of Tl with metal sulfides and phyllosilicates. The isotope fractionation factor ε205Tl of the soil samples (from −0.4 to +3.8) shows a positive linear relationship (R2 = 0.62) with 1/Tl, indicative for the mixing of two major Tl pools, presumably anthropogenic Tl and geogenic Tl. The ε205Tl value for the topmost soil samples (∼+3) closely matches the ε205Tl value for post-flotation waste particles with a diameter of <0.05 mm, whereas the bulk flotation waste exhibits a significantly larger ε205Tl value (∼+6). These variations are in accordance with predominant atmospheric transfer of Tl from the tailings to the adjacent soils via fine (dust) particles. The identified minimal Tl alteration in soils indicates that only a small part of the Tl could be potentially released and passively enter the vegetation, local population and/or food chain in the long term. From this viewpoint, Tl does not represent such an important environmental concern as other (abundant) contaminants at the locality. Furthermore, there could be a relevance for other alkaline desert soils, including those where Tl pollution plays a major role. Keywords: Soil, Tl isotopes, Mining waste, Contamination.

Year: 2018

Type: Journal Article

URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.04.006


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