Heavy metals in soils in north Somerset, England, with special reference to contamination from base metal mining in the Mendips

Abstract

A 2 × 2 km grid survey of surface soils was conducted over 600 km of North Somerset, England, to investigate the role of pollution from former base metai mines on soil heavy metal content. Soil contents of Pb, Zn, Cu and Cd were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry after extraction in hot, concentrated nitric acid. Most of the soils were contaminated by lead, zinc and cadmium. Isoline maps and perspective block diagrams showed this contamination to be most severe on the Mendip plateau, especially in the vicinity of Shipham, Wells and Priddy districts. Resurgences, polluted from mine drainage, also contaminated soils at the base of the Mendip slopes and, over the lowlands, trace element enriched Liassic shales caused significant local anomalies.

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Davies, B.E., Bailinger, R.C. Heavy metals in soils in north Somerset, England, with special reference to contamination from base metal mining in the Mendips. Environ Geochem Health 12, 291–300 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01783454

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Keywords

  • Heavy Metal
  • Cadmium
  • Shale
  • Nitric Acid
  • Base Metal