, Volume 66, Issue 8, pp 2207-2216
Date: 16 Nov 2011

Morphological, geochemical composition and origins of near-surface atmospheric dust in Changsha city of China

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Near-surface atmospheric dust in Changsha city of China was analyzed in terms of morphological and geochemical composition. Morphological and chemical composition of the dust particles were analyzed by environmental scanning electron microscopy coupled with an energy-dispersive X-ray analyzer. Results indicated that the atmospheric dusts were mainly composed of spherule, plate, irregularly shaped and agglomerate, which contains variable sizes and amounts of particles. The dust particles could be categorized into five groups based on their chemical characteristic: Al-, Si-, Ca-, C-rich particles and aggregate. These particles and aggregate could be directly related to nearby polluting activities, such as building construction, traffic emission and coal combustion. The X-ray diffraction results show that the main minerals for atmospheric dust are gypsum, quartz and calcite. Mica, halloysite, montmorillonite, hematite, brushite, zeolite, sepiolite, feldspar, alite, dickite, SiS2, Fe6(OH)2CO3, FeSO4, CdSO4, Pb(NO)2O3, Al2SO4(OH)4, As2O3SO3, (NH4)2SO4, NH4Cl, K(NH4)·Ca(SO4)2·H2O are also detected in samples. The identification of heavy metals shows that the concentrations of Cr (403.5 mg kg−1), Cu (126 mg kg−1), Zn (1541.5 mg kg−1), Cd (2.5 mg kg−1) and Pb (348 mg kg−1) in the atmospheric dust are much higher compared to background value of soil. It indicates that the heavy metal (Cr, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb) in the atmospheric dust is mainly due to human activities. The identification of main sources of atmospheric dust collected in typical areas can help to control the polluting sources in urban area.