Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

Geochemical and mineral magnetic characterisation of urban sediment particulates, Manchester, UK

Robertson, D. J., Taylor, Kevin G. and Hoon, Steve R. (2003) Geochemical and mineral magnetic characterisation of urban sediment particulates, Manchester, UK. Applied geochemistry, 18 (2). pp. 269-282. ISSN 0883-2927

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Urban sediments are part of a complex system in which particulates accumulate potentially toxic pollutants, ultimately posing a threat to urban water-bodies and public health. It is therefore important to recognise sources, signatures and pathways of urban particulates. Urban sediment samples were analysed from both inner and outer city road surfaces of Manchester, UK. High metal concentrations, coupled with the largely ferrimagnetic multi-domain (MD) mineral magnetic composition of the particulates, indicate inputs of anthropogenic origin, primarily particulates derived from automobiles, as being the dominant source to the urban sediment system. Iron and Pb concentrations show a clear spatial trend, whereby concentrations are enhanced in the inner city samples. Lead concentrations for inner and outer city samples average 354 and 185 μg g−1, respectively. Iron concentrations for inner and outer city samples average 11302 and 6486 μg g−1, respectively. Sequential extraction analysis shows the metals Mn, Fe, Zn and Pb are largely associated with the reducible fraction, whereas Cu is largely associated with the oxidisable fraction. Zinc is the only metal showing significant association with the exchangeable fraction (up to 33%), suggesting that it may be the most susceptible metal to mobilisation during runoff. Metal fractions identified as showing larger associations with the reducible and oxidisable fractions will continue to be vulnerable to mobilisation as a result of changes in ambient pH and/or redox conditions. Mineral magnetic concentration parameters, such as the saturation isothermal remanent magnetisation (SIRM), together with hysteresis parameters such as the coercive force and interparametric ratios (such as (Bo)cr/Hc and IRM-100mT/SIRM) show that ferrimagnetic MD minerals dominate the Manchester urban sediments. Average results for frequency-dependent susceptibility as a percentage (2%) suggest that the composition of these Manchester sediments is not dominated by soil-derived material, and therefore magnetically coarser, anthropogenically-derived material is dominant. Unlike Pb and Fe concentrations, mineral magnetic characteristics of the Manchester urban sediment samples exhibit no significant spatial variation.

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