Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 121 Issue 4 August 2012 pp 1059-1070
Soil contamination by heavy metals has been a major concern for last few decades due to increase in urbanization and industrialization. The main objective of this research was to identify the heavy metal contaminated zones in the study area. Twenty five soil samples collected throughout the agriculture, residential and industrial areas were analysed by X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF) for trace metals and major oxides. These metals can affect the quality of soil and infiltrate through the soil, thereby causing groundwater pollution. Based on the chemical analysis of major oxides (SiO2, Al2O3, Fe2O3, MnO, MgO, CaO, Na2O, K2O, TiO2, and P2O5) and their distribution; it is observed that these soils are predominantly siliceous type with slight enrichment of alumina component in the study area. Correlation matrix (CM) and factor analysis (FA) is employed to the heavy metal variables, viz., Ba, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sr, V, Y, Zn and Zr of the soil to determine the dominant factors contributing to the soil contamination in the area. In the analysis, five factors emerged as significant contributors to the soil quality. The total contribution of these five factors is about 90%. The contribution of the first factor is about 45% and has significant positive loadings of Co, Cr, Cu, Ni and Zn. The contribution of second factor is 22% and has significant positive loadings of Rb, Sr and Y. The contribution of third, fourth and fifth factors is 10, 8 and 5% and show positive loadings for lead, molybdenum and barium respectively to the soil contamination. The spatial variation maps deciphering different zones of heavy metal concentration in the soil were generated in a GIS (geographic information system) based environment using ArcGIS 9.3.1. The results reveal that heavy metal contamination in the area is mainly due to anthropogenic activities.
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