Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 7, pp 1979–1988 | Cite as

Spatial distribution and contamination assessment of heavy metals in urban topsoil from inside the Xi’an second ringroad, NW China

  • Xiuduan Chen
  • Xinwei Lu
  • Loretta Y. Li
  • Guang Yang
Original Article


The paper reports the spatial distribution and contamination level of heavy metals (Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn and V) in urban topsoil from the interior area of the second ringroad of Xi’an city, China, based on X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy measurements. Geostatistical analysis shows that Co, Cu, and Pb have similar spatial distribution patterns. Heavy traffic density mainly contributed to the high concentrations of Co, Cu and Pb. The spatial distribution of Cr coincides with the industrial activity, whereas the spatial distribution of Zn differs from other heavy metals. The high concentrations of Zn coincide with heavy traffic and high population density. For Mn, Ni and V, natural factors are important in controlling their distribution. The calculated geoaccumulation indices indicate that urban topsoil inside the Xi’an second ringroad was uncontaminated by Cr, V, Mn and Ni, while Pb, Cu, Co and Zn are classified as uncontaminated to moderately contaminated with means of 0.64, 0.46, 0.26 and 0.21, respectively. The Nemero synthesis pollution index of these heavy metals revealed that the topsoil inside Xi’an second ringroad has been heavily contaminated due to anthropogenic activity.


Heavy metal Soil Spatial distribution Contamination assessment GIS Xi’an 



This research was supported by the program for New Century Excellent Talents in University under Grant NCET-05-0861 and Fundamental Research Funds for the Chinese Central Universities through Grants 2010ZYGX014 and GK200901008. We thank Editor-in-Chief Dr. James W. LaMoreaux and anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions and critical reviews of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiuduan Chen
    • 1
  • Xinwei Lu
    • 1
  • Loretta Y. Li
    • 2
  • Guang Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Tourism and EnvironmentShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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