Mercury and trace element fractionation in Almaden soils by application of different sequential extraction procedures

Sánchez, D. M.; Quejido, A. J.; Fernández, M.; Hernández, C.; Schmid, T.; Millán, R.; González, M.; Aldea, M.; Martín, R.; Morante, R.
April 2005
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Apr2005, Vol. 381 Issue 8, p1507
Academic Journal
A comparative evaluation of the mercury distribution in a soil sample from Almaden (Spain) has been performed by applying three different sequential extraction procedures, namely, modified BCR (three steps in sequence), Di Giulio-Ryan (four steps in sequence), and a specific SEP developed at CIEMAT (six steps in sequence). There were important differences in the mercury extraction results obtained by the three procedures according to the reagents applied and the sequence of their application. These findings highlight the difficulty of setting a universal SEP to obtain information on metal fractions of different mobility for any soil sample, as well as the requirement for knowledge about the mineralogical and chemical characteristics of the samples. The specific six-step CIEMAT sequential extraction procedure was applied to a soil profile (Ap, Ah, Bt1, and Bt2 horizons). The distribution of mercury and major, minor, and trace elements in the different fractions were determined. The results indicate that mercury is mainly released with 6 M HCl. The strong association of mercury with crystalline iron oxyhydroxides, present in all the horizons of the profile, and/or the solubility of some mercury compounds in such acid can explain this fact. Minor mercury is found in the fraction assigned to oxidizable matter and in the final insoluble residue (cinnabar).


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