Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 59–72 | Cite as

Assessing heavy-metal contamination and sources by GIS-based approach and multivariate analysis of urban–rural topsoils in Wuhan, central China

  • Min Gong
  • Li Wu
  • Xiang-yang BiEmail author
  • Li-min Ren
  • Lei Wang
  • Zhen-dong Ma
  • Zheng-yu Bao
  • Zhong-gen Li
Original Paper


Nine potentially harmful heavy metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Pb, Ni, and Zn) were measured in 477 topsoil samples collected from urban–rural areas in the city of Wuhan in order to identify their concentrations and possible sources, and characterize their spatial variability for risk assessment. Results showed that in most rural areas heavy-metal concentrations in soil were similar to their natural background values, but Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, and Zn concentrations were relatively higher in densely populated districts and around industrial facilities. Multivariate analyses (correlation matrix, principal component analysis, and cluster analysis) indicated that Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, and Zn were mainly derived from anthropogenic inputs, and Co, Cr, and Mn were controlled by natural source, whereas Ni appeared to be affected by both anthropogenic and natural sources. The result of risk assessment indicated that nearly 48% of the study area suffered from moderate to severe contamination.


Topsoil Heavy metals Contamination GIS Multivariate statistics Wuhan 



This research was supported by the Geological Survey of China and Hubei Province Program “Multipurpose Geochemical Survey of Hubei Province” (200214200024) and Natural Science Foundation of China (40703023 and 40703020). The authors are greatly indebted to colleagues who participated in the fieldwork and data processing.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min Gong
    • 1
  • Li Wu
    • 2
  • Xiang-yang Bi
    • 3
    Email author
  • Li-min Ren
    • 3
  • Lei Wang
    • 4
  • Zhen-dong Ma
    • 1
  • Zheng-yu Bao
    • 3
  • Zhong-gen Li
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of Earth ScienceChina University of GeosciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Environmental StudiesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, Ministry of EducationFaculty of Earth Science, China University of GeosciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Faculty of Earth ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangPeople’s Republic of China

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