Investigating the potential of using environmental magnetism techniques as pollution proxy in urban road deposited sediment

Environmental magnetism techniques as pollution proxy in urban road deposited sediment
  • M. O. Kanu
  • N. Basavaiah
  • O. C. Meludu
  • A. S. Oniku
Original Paper


The use of mineral magnetic techniques as pollution proxy for road deposited sediment was explored using various statistical approaches. Standard techniques were adopted for measurement of mineral magnetic and geochemical parameters. The analyses of magnetic parameters revealed that the samples were dominated by ferrimagnetic minerals and multidomain grains. This implied that the magnetic fractions in the samples might be of anthropogenic origin. Results also indicate that the samples were dominated by low coercive, magnetically soft minerals. Thermomagnetic curves confirmed magnetite as the remanence bearing magnetic mineral having a Curie point temperature of ~580 °C. The strong association observed between magnetic susceptibility, susceptibility of anhysteric remanent magnetization and saturation isothermal remanent magnetization and aluminum, titanium, manganese, iron, chromium and lead demonstrated that these metals occurred as ferrimagnetic particles of technogenic origin resulting from vehicular sources. Assessment of pollution status of the road deposited sediment identified silicon and lead as the priority pollutants of concern. Generally, pollution load index was <1 (mean, 0.66 ± 0.14), indicating that the samples were not polluted in the overall, but the metals were in the buildup stage requiring constant monitoring. The sources of pollutants from principal component and cluster analyses identified the sources of pollution to be mainly from vehicular emissions such as brake linings, exhaust materials, tire wear, corroded metal parts, abrasion of lubricating oil and road construction materials. This study found that mineral magnetic techniques offer great potential as pollution proxy for soil pollution studies.


Anthropogenic Environmental magnetism Geochemical Magnetic susceptibility Pollution Road deposited sediment 



The research formed part of a doctoral investigation supported by the Taraba State University Tertiary Education Trust Fund for which the first author expresses thanks. We sincerely wish to appreciate the Department of Science and Technology (DST), India, and the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG), Mumbai, for permission to use the facilities at the Environmental Magnetism Laboratory. Gratitude is also extended to Dr. P. K. Das for critical review and comments.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. O. Kanu
    • 1
  • N. Basavaiah
    • 2
  • O. C. Meludu
    • 3
  • A. S. Oniku
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsTaraba State UniversityJalingoNigeria
  2. 2.Environmental Magnetism LaboratoryIndian Institute of GeomagnetismMumbaiIndia
  3. 3.Department of PhysicsModibbo Adama University of TechnologyYolaNigeria

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