Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 7, pp 2541–2556 | Cite as

Risk of metal mobility in soils from a Pb/Zn depleted mine (Lugo, Spain)

  • D. Arenas-Lago
  • M. Lago-Vila
  • A. Rodríguez-Seijo
  • M. L. Andrade
  • F. A. Vega
Original Article


The risk of Pb, Zn and Cd mobility is evaluated in soils from a depleted mine at Rubiais (Lugo, Spain). This area is under special protection because of its outstanding natural value. Soils from nine different areas were selected: at the mining zone (R1, R2, R3), at minespoils (R4, R5, R6) and soils developed on the settling pond (R7, R8, R9). A control soil (RC) was sampled outside the mine. The objectives are (i) to study the characteristics of soils with high influence on metal retention, (ii) to determine the content of Pb, Zn and Cd comparing it with the generic reference levels, and (iii) to evaluate the distribution and the interactions between the metals and the soil geochemical phases by means of sequential chemical extraction, X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (FE-SEM/EDS) and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF–SIMS). The concentration of Pb, Zn and Cd ranges 850–6,761, 1,754–32,287 and 1.8–43.7 mg kg−1, respectively, and the highest proportion is in the residual fraction. The Mn oxides highly influence the retention of Cd while Pb retention is mainly influenced by Fe oxides. Zn is uniformly distributed amongst the residual fraction and the Fe and Mn oxides. TOF–SIMS and SEM/EDS techniques confirm the fractionation results, showing how Pb and Zn are as sulphide and associated with Fe and Mn oxides. Nevertheless, care should be taken since oxides and sulphides could suffer sulphide oxidation processes or alteration of the oxides causing leaching and the contamination of the protected ecosystem.


Minesoil Lead Zinc Cadmium TOF–SIMS FE-SEM 



This research was supported by Project EM2013/018 (Xunta de Galicia). F. A. Vega and D. Arenas-Lago would like to express their thanks to the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the University of Vigo for the Ramón y Cajal and FPI-MICINN grants, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Arenas-Lago
    • 1
  • M. Lago-Vila
    • 1
  • A. Rodríguez-Seijo
    • 1
  • M. L. Andrade
    • 1
  • F. A. Vega
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant and Soil ScienceUniversity of VigoVigoSpain

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