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Naturally elevated metal contents of soils in northeastern North Dakota, USA, with a focus on cadmium

Abstract

Purpose

Association of element concentrations for the escarpment soils of northeastern North Dakota formed from different geologic parent materials was determined based on geochemical data. These soils overlie the Cretaceous Pierre Formation, and parent materials consist of shale rich glacial till, residual shale, and colluvial materials.

Materials and methods

Samples were analyzed for cadmium and other trace elements using nitric acid digestion followed by optical emission spectroscopy. Morphologic and laboratory analysis of soil cores indicate high clay content, indicative of the influence of shale residuum on the parent materials of the escarpment soils.

Results and discussion

An average, cadmium concentration of 0.24 ± 0.22 mg/kg was determined for 136 samples from eight (approx. 2.4 m deep) cores. The concentration of molybdenum had a range between 0.00 and 7.99 mg/kg. Zinc levels determined in the samples had a wide range between 18.76 and 128.02 mg/kg. Principal component analysis revealed that elevated trace element concentrations for the shale-rich portion of the soils in northeastern North Dakota are linked to a variety of factors including organic matter content, pH, elevation, and electrical conductivity.

Conclusions

Results of this study suggest that erosion and transport of Cretaceous shales downslope on the escarpment have resulted in enriched trace element concentrations in the soils.

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Acknowledgments

The project described was supported by NIH Grant Number P20 RR016471 from the INBRE Program of the National Center for Research Resources, USDA/NIFA, and the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH. D. Sens and D. P. Schwert are gratefully acknowledged for their support. M. Ginsbach assisted with core descriptions. Ted Feit assisted in multi-element analysis. M. Otte and D. Jacob of the WERG lab at NDSU are thanked for their analytical support.

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Correspondence to Vijaya Jyoti.

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Responsible editor: Dong-Mei Zhou

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Jyoti, V., Saini-Eidukat, B., Hopkins, D. et al. Naturally elevated metal contents of soils in northeastern North Dakota, USA, with a focus on cadmium. J Soils Sediments 15, 1571–1583 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-015-1122-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-015-1122-6

Keywords

  • Cadmium
  • Elevated
  • Natural
  • North Dakota
  • Soil