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TitleThe chemical and physical characteristics of heavy metals in humus and till in the vicinity of the base metal smelter at Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada
AuthorHenderson, P J; McMartin, IORCID logo; Hall, G E; Percival, J BORCID logo; Walker, D A
SourceEnvironmental Geology vol. 34, no. 1, 1998 p. 39-58,
Alt SeriesGeological Survey of Canada, Contribution Series 1996356
PublisherSpringer Nature
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceManitoba; Saskatchewan
NTS63J/03; 63J/04; 63K/01; 63K/02; 63K/03; 63K/04; 63K/05; 63K/06; 63K/11; 63K/12; 63K/13; 63K/14; 63L/07; 63L/08; 63L/09; 63L/10; 63L/15; 63L/16; 63M/01; 63M/02; 63N/01; 63N/02; 63N/03; 63N/04
AreaFlin Flon; Snow Lake
Lat/Long WENS-103.0000 -99.0000 55.2500 54.0000
Subjectsenvironmental geology; soils science; surficial geology/geomorphology; geochemistry; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; Economics and Industry; mineral industry; mineral processing; smelters; heavy metals contamination; heavy mineral analyses; base metals; soils; tills; base metal geochemistry; till geochemistry; trace element geochemistry; scanning electron microscope analyses; bedrock geology; lithology; Environmental impact; cumulative effects
Illustrationslocation maps; geoscientific sketch maps; tables; flow diagrams; plots; profiles; bar graphs; photomicrographs
Released1998 04 14
AbstractTrace element geochemistry of humus (<0.425 mm) and till (<0.002 mm) collected in the Flin Flon-Snow Lake area, northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, provides a regional context for assessing smelter contamination in the environment. The area includes a Cu-Zn smelter known to discharge As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Hg, Pb, and Zn. In this study, sequential extraction analyses, scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction analyses were used on a suite of samples to determine: (1) the chemical and physical characteristics of heavy metals in surficial sediments related to distance from the smelter, (2) criteria for assessing the relative contribution of these metals from natural and anthropogenic sources, and (3) the potential of these metals for remobilization in the environment.
Humus geochemistry reflects the anthropogenic and natural component of heavy metal concentrations. Smelter-related elements show anomalously high values adjacent to the smelter, decreasing with distance until background values are reached at 70-104 km, depending on the element. In humus, Zn is associated primarily with labile phases; Hg with non-labile phases. Adjacent to the smelter, high proportions and concentrations of Zn and Hg in non-labile phases, indicative of smelter-derived particulates, are confirmed by SEM examination. The particles occur as spheres, irregular grains, and with organics. With increasing distance from the smelter, the geochemical response to bedrock composition is more obvious than the anthropogenic input.
Till geochemistry reflects the natural variation imposed by bedrock composition. At highly contaminated sites (<3?km from the smelter), increased percentages of smelter-related elements in labile phases suggests heavy metals are leached from humus to the underlying sediment.

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