Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 11, Issue 3–4, pp 127–135 | Cite as

Heavy metal contamination in the Tanat Valley, North Wales

  • Ronald Fuge
  • Catherine F. Paveley
  • Matthew T. Holdham
Article

Abstract

The Tanat Valley area of North Powys, Wales, has a long history of metalliferous mining, the most active period of extraction being during the 18th century, while the largest mine, Llangynog, was in production until 1899. Ore minerals found in the area include galena (PbS), sphalerite (ZnS) and chalcopyrite (CuFeS2). Below the Llangynog mine the valley is heavily contaminated with elevated levels of Pb, Zn, Cu and Cd in soils and river sediments. On the valley floor subsoil metal levels frequently greatly exceed those of topsoils which probably reflects contamination of the floodplain during the peak period of mining. High levels of base metals in the stream sediments some 2 km downstream of the mine area are thought to be due to river erosion of the contaminated bank material. Contamination derived from the old mine tips results in extremely high levels of heavy metals in soils and stream sediments in the immediate vicinty of the old workings. Some metal contamination is also thought to derive from previously undetected mineralisation.

Keywords

Heavy Metal Geochemistry 18th Century Base Metal Mine Area 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alloway, B.J. and Davies, B.E. 1971. Trace element content of soils affected by base metal mining in Wales.Geoderma,5, 197–208.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, M.J. 1987. An investigation into the use of the halogens and other mobile elements as pathfinders in geochemical exploration. PhD Thesis, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.Google Scholar
  3. Davies, B.E. 1971. Trace metal content of soils affected by base metal mining in the West of England.Oikos,22, 366–372.Google Scholar
  4. Davies, B.E. and Lewin, J. 1974. Chronosequences in alluvial soils with special reference to historic lead pollution in Cardiganshire, Wales.Environ. Poll.,6, 49–57.Google Scholar
  5. Davies, B.E. and Roberts, L.T. 1975. Heavy metals in soils and refuse in a mineralised area of Wales, Great Britain.Sci. Total Environ.,4, 249–261.Google Scholar
  6. Dunham, K., Beer, K.E., Ellis, R.A., Gallagher, M.J., Nutt, M.J.C. and Webb, B.C. 1982. In:Mineral Deposits of Europe Volume 1: Northwest Europe, pp. 263–317. The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, London.Google Scholar
  7. Griffith, J.J. 1919. Influence of mines upon land and livestock in Cardiganshire.J. Agriultural Sci,9, 366–395.Google Scholar
  8. Lewin, J., Davies, B.E. and Wolfenden, P.J. 1977. Interactions between channel change and historic mining sediments. In: Gregory, K.J. (ed.),River Channel Changes. Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  9. Lewin, J. and Macklin, M.G. 1986. Metal mining and floodplain sedimentation in Britain. In: Gardiner, V. (ed.),International Geomorphology, 1986, Part 1, pp.1009–1027.Google Scholar
  10. Macklin, M.G. 1985. Flood-plain sedimentation in the upper Axe valley, Mendip, England,Trans. Institue of British Geographers, N.S.10, pp.235–244.Google Scholar
  11. Paveley, C.F. 1988. Heavy metal sources and distribution in soils, with special reference to Wales. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Bradford.Google Scholar
  12. Webb, J.S., Thomton, I., Thompson, M., Howarth, R.J. and Lowestein, P.L. 1978.The Wolfson Geochemical Atlas of England and Wales, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Williams, R.A. 1985. The old mines of the Llangynog district.British Mining,26.Google Scholar
  14. Wolfenden, P. J. and Lewin, J. 1977. Distribution of metal pollutants in floodplain sediments.Catena,4, 309–317.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sciences and Technology Letters 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald Fuge
    • 1
  • Catherine F. Paveley
    • 2
  • Matthew T. Holdham
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Applied Geochemistry, Institute of Earth StudiesUniversity College of WalesAberystwythWales
  2. 2.Department of Environmental BiologyBath College of Higher EducationNewton ParkEngland

Personalised recommendations