Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 276-286

First online:

The influence of industrial immissions on the magnetic susceptibility of soils in upper Silesia

  • Zygmunt StrzyszczAffiliated withInstitute of Environmental Engineering, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • , Tadeusz MagieraAffiliated withInstitute of Environmental Engineering, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • , Friedrich HellerAffiliated withInstitut für Geophysik, ETH Honggerberg

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Samples of metallurgical dusts and fly ashes from coal power plants and iron works in Upper Silesia as well as soil profiles in the close vicinity of these plants and in Ojcow National Park (ca. 25 km east of the industrial area) have been studied magnetically and mineralogically. The metallurgical dusts and fly ashes are highly enriched in ferromagnetic minerals. The topsoils from profiles collected near the plants have very high values of magnetic susceptibility while susceptibility in the fermentation and humic subhorizons in soil profiles from Ojcow National Park is considerably increased. The magnetic properties of the metallurgical dusts and fly ashes such as frequency dependence of susceptibility, saturation remanence or coercivity are similar to those observed in the top horizons of the soils. They are mostly related to the occurrence of large (multidomain) grains of non-stoichiometric magnetite ranging from 1 to 20 µm. The similarity of the magnetic particles in the soils is taken as evidence of an anthropogenic origin. They are responsible for the high soil susceptibilities in Upper Silesia and in adjacent areas. Some of the magnetic particles carry substantial quantitities of trace elements such as Pb, Ni, Zn and Cu. Field and laboratory susceptibility measurements can therefore be used as a simple and costeffective method of detecting the presence of heavy metals in the soils of this area.


anthropogenic ferrimagnetics metallurgical dust fly ashes trace elements