Lead Penetration and Leaching in a Complex Temperate Soil Profile
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2008

The documented loss of anthropogenic Pb from soil organic horizons and its migration into the mineral soil below has raised several environmental concerns, especially over the leaching of Pb into groundwater aquifers and subsequently into other environmental compartments of the ecosystem. Here, a complex colluvial soil formed over the last 10,000 years in NW Spain is studied. The objective is to evaluate the behavior of Pb in soils, including its migration rates and the potential use of complex soils as archives of atmospheric Pb pollution. To this end, Pb concentrations and Pb isotope ratios for total soil, and for acid-extractable (0.5 M HNO3) and residual fractions were determined. We show that the acid-extractable fraction is more radiogenic than the residual one in most of the soil profile and that this relationship is reversed in the surface layers (<15 cm) where pollution is greatest. Radiogenic Pb seems to have been leached out during rock weathering and pedogenesis of the soil. Comparison with a nearby peat record of atmospheric Pb deposition over the last 8 kyears demonstrates that though signals from pollution are detected in the soil record, the soil itself does not provide an accurate reconstruction of Pb deposition. On the basis of the history of soil formation the most likely Pb migration rate is estimated at approximately 0.01 cm year−1. At this migration rate Pb would be retained in the soil column for ~20 kyear. In other words, there is no evidence for the relatively rapid movement of Pb into the soil.

soil profile

migration rates




malin Kylander

Antonio Martinez Cortizas

Sebastien Rauch

Chalmers, Bygg- och miljöteknik, Vatten Miljö Teknik

Dominik J. Weiss

Environmental Science & Technology

Vol. 42 9 3177-3184



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