Anthropogenic and Authigenic Uranium in Marine Sediments of the Central Gulf of California Adjacent to the Santa Rosalía Mining Region

  • Evgueni Shumilin
  • Griselda Rodríguez-Figueroa
  • Dmitry Sapozhnikov
  • Yuri Sapozhnikov
  • Konstantin Choumiline


To investigate the causes of uranium (U) enrichment in marine sediments in the eastern sector of the Gulf of California, surface sediments and sediment cores were collected adjacent to the Santa Rosalía copper mining region in the Baja California peninsula. Three coastal sediment cores were found to display high concentrations of U (from 54.2 ± 7.3 mg kg−1 to 110 ± 13 mg kg−1) exceeding those found in the deeper cores (1.36 ± 0.26 mg kg−1 in the Guaymas Basin to 9.31 ± 3.03 mg kg−1 in the SR63 core from the suboxic zone). The contribution of non-lithogenic U (estimated using scandium to normalize) to the total U content in sediments of three coastal cores varied from 97.2 ± 0.4 % to 98.82 % versus 49.8 ± 3 % (Guaymas Basin) to 84.2 ± 8.2 % (SR62 core) in the deeper cores. The U content record in a lead-210 (210Pb)-dated core had two peaks (in 1923 and 1967) corresponding to the history of ancient mining and smelting activities in Santa Rosalía.


210Pb Sediment Core Marine Sediment Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis Mining Region 
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This study was supported by (1) a SEMARNAT-2002-C01-1425 grant from the Secretaría de Recursos de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales and Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología of Mexico (“Biogeochemical evaluation of heavy metals in the marine environment of the Santa Rosalía mining region, B.C.S.”); (2) CONACyT-Ciencia Básica Project No. 50421 (“Evaluation of the role of a zooplankton and particulate matter in the biogeochemistry of trace elements in the central region of the Gulf of California”); and Project No. 20113395 (“Geochemical and ecotoxicological assessment of the state of contamination by heavy metals of the coastal environment of the Santa Rosalía mining region, Southern Baja California”) from the Secretaría de Posgrado e Investigación of the Instituto Politécnico Nacional of Mexico. We are thankful to Prof. Robert Douglas (University of Southern California) and M.S. Fernando Areola (Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas of the Instituto Politécnico Nacional) for giving us the possibility to work with FF, SR62, SR63, and SR64 core subsamples in our radioisotopic and geochemical studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evgueni Shumilin
    • 1
  • Griselda Rodríguez-Figueroa
    • 1
  • Dmitry Sapozhnikov
    • 2
  • Yuri Sapozhnikov
    • 3
  • Konstantin Choumiline
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, Instituto Politécnico NacionalBaja California SurMexico
  2. 2.V. I. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical ChemistryRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Chemical FacultyM. V. Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityVorob’evy Gory, MoscowRussia

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