Environmental Earth Sciences

, 76:168 | Cite as

The diagenetic geochemistry and contamination assessment of iron, cadmium, and lead in the sediments from the Shuangtaizi estuary, China

  • Baolin LiuEmail author
  • Yongsheng Nie
  • Xiuhua Gao
  • Ke Hu
  • Juan Yang
Original Article


Sediment and pore water samples have been collected from the coastal tidal flat in the Shuangtaizi estuary, China, in order to investigate the geochemical behavior of iron, cadmium, and lead during diagenesis and to assess the degree of contamination. The calculated enrichment factors and geoaccumulation indices for separate elements show that anthropogenic activities have had no significant influence on the distribution of Fe and Pb in the study area, whereas the distribution of Cd has been closely influenced in this way. The high percentage of exchangeable Cd (average of 56.34%) suggests that Cd represents a potential hazard to benthic organisms in the estuary. The calculated diffusive fluxes of metals show that the most mobilized metal is Fe (9.22 mg m−2 a−1), followed by Cd (0.54 mg m−2 a−1) and Pb (0.42 mg m−2 a−1). Low Fe2+ contents in surface pore water, alongside high chromium-reducible sulfur contents, and low acid-volatile sulfur, and elemental sulfur contents at 0–25 cm depth in sediments show that Fe2+ is formed by the reduction of Fe oxides and is transformed first to a solid phase of iron monosulfides (FeS) and eventually to pyrite (FeS2). The release of adsorbed Pb due to reductive dissolution of Fe/Mn oxides during early diagenesis could be a source of Pb2+ in pore water. From the relatively low total organic carbon contents measured in sediments (0.46–1.28%, with an average of 0.94%) and the vertical variation of Cd2+ in pore water, sulfide or Fe/Mn oxides (instead of organic matter) are presumed to exert a significant influence on carrying or releasing Cd by the sediments.


Metal Contamination Sediment Shuangtaizi estuary 



This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (41106108), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2652015168 and 2652015035).

Supplementary material

12665_2017_6481_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (26 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 26 kb)


  1. Alexander C, Smith R, Calder F, Schropp S, Windom H (1993) The historical record of metal enrichment in two Florida estuaries. Estuaries 16:627–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anschutz P, Dedieu K, Desmazes F, Chaillou G (2005) Speciation, oxidation state, and reactivity of particulate manganese in marine sediments. Chem Geol 218:265–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Audry S, Schäfer J, Blanc G, Jouanneau JM (2004) Fifty-year sedimentary record of heavy metal pollution(Cd, Zn, Cu, Pb) in the Lot River reservoirs (France). Environ Poll 132:413–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Audry S, Blanc G, Schäfer J, Sébastien R (2007) Effect of estuarine sediment resuspension on early diagenesis, sulfide oxidation and dissolved molybdenum and uranium distribution in the Gironde estuary, France. Chem Geol 238:149–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burton ED, Sullivan LA, Bush RT et al (2008) A simple and inexpensive chromium-reducible sulfur method for acid–sulfate soils. Appl Geochem 23:2759–2766CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Calvert SE, Pedersen TF (1993) Geochemistry of recent oxic and anoxic marine sediments: implications for the geological record. Mar Geol 113:67–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chatterjee M, Silva-Filho EV, Sarkar SK et al (2007) Distribution and possible source of trace elements in the sediment cores of a tropical macro tidal estuary and their ecotoxicological significance. Environ Int 33:346–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen JS, Wei FS, Zheng CJ et al (1991) Background concentrations of elements in soils of China. Water Air Soil Poll 57–58:699–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. China Environmental Monitoring Station (1990) Natural background values of soil elements in China. China Environmental Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  10. Cuong DT, Obbard JP (2006) Metal speciation in coastal marine sediments from Singapore using a modified BCR-sequential extraction procedure. Appl Geochem 21:1335–1346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dai JC, Song JM, Li XG et al (2007) Environmental changes reflected by sedimentary geochemistry in recent hundred years of Jiaozhou Bay, North China. Environ Poll 145:656–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Delgado J, Nieto JM, Boski T (2010) Analysis of the spatial variation of heavy metals in the Guadiana Estuary sediments (SW Iberian Peninsula) based on GIS-mapping techniques. Estuar Coast Shelf S 88:71–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gallon C, Tessier A, Gobeil C et al (2004) Modeling diagenesis of lead in sediments of a Canadian Shield lake. Geochim Cosmochim Ac 68:3531–3545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gao S, Luo TC, Zhang BR et al (1998) Chemical composition of the continental crust as revealed by studies in East China. Geochim Cosmochim Ac 62(11):1959–1975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gao X, Zhou F, Chen C (2014) Pollution status of the Bohai Sea: an overview of the environmental quality assessment related trace metals. Environ Int 62:12–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gaudette HE, Flight W, Tones L et al (1974) An inexpensive titration method for thedeterminations of organic carbon in recent sediments. J Sediment Petrol 44:249–253Google Scholar
  17. Hao J, Li SY, Zhou YZ, Liu J (1989) Preliminary study on the background of Cu, Pb, Zn and Cd in sediment of the Liaodong bay in the Bohai Sea. Acta Oceanologica Sinica 11(6):742–748 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  18. Hsieh YP, Shieh YN (1997) Analysis of reduced inorganic sulfur by diffusion methods: improved apparatus and evaluation for sulfur isotopic studies. Chem Geol 137:255–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hsieh YP, Yang CH (1989) Diffusion methods for the determination of reduced inorganic sulfur species in sediments. Limnol Oceanogr 34:1126–1130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huettel M, Ziebis W, Forster S et al (1998) Advective transport affecting metal and nutrient distribution and interfacial fluxes in permeable sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Ac 62:613–631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lapp B, Balzer W (1993) Early diagenesis of trace metals used as an indicator of past productivity changes in coastal sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Ac 57:4639–4652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lesven L, Lourino-Cabana N, Billon G et al (2010) On metal diagenesis in contaminated sediments of the Deûleriver (northern France). Appl Geochem 25:1361–1373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li SY, Hao J (1992) The study of environmental background concentrations of Cu, Pb, Zn and Cd in the sediment of the Bohai Bay and its adjacent sea area. Oceanol Limnol Sin 23:39–48 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  24. Li C, Song CW, Yin YY et al (2015) Spatial distribution and risk assessment of heavy metals in sediments of Shuangtaizi estuary, China. Mar Pollut Bull 98:358–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Liu BL, Hu K, Jiang ZL et al (2011) A fifty-year sedimentary record of heavy metal and their chemical speciation in the Shuangtaizi River Estuary (China):implications for pollution and biodegradation. Front Earth Sci China 5:435–444Google Scholar
  26. Meng W, Qin YW, Zheng BH et al (2008) Heavy metal pollution in Tianjin Bohai Bay. China, J Environ Sci 20:814–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mil-Homens M, Stevens RL, Abrantes F, Cato I (2006) Heavy metal assessment for surface sediments from three areas of the Portuguese continental shelf. Contin Shelf Res 26:1184–1205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morse JW, Luther GW III (1999) Chemical influences on trace mental-sulfide interaction in anoxic sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Ac 63:3373–3378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Muller G (1969) Index of geoaccumulation in sediments of the Rhine River. GeoJournal 2:108–118Google Scholar
  30. Nolting RF, Ramkema A, Everaarts JM (1999) The geochemistry of Cu, Cd, Zn, Ni and Pb in sediment cores from the continental slope of Banc d’ Arquin (Mauritani). Contin Shelf Res 19:665–691CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schaanning MT, Hylland K, Eriksen DO et al (1996) Interactions between eutrophication and contaminants. II. Mobilization and bioaccumulation of Hg and Cd from marine sediments. Mar Pollut Bull 33:71–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Simpson SL, Apte SC, Batley GE (2000) Effect of short term resuspension events on the oxidation of cadmium, lead, and zinc sulfide phases in anoxic estuarine sediments. Environ Sci Technol 34:4533–4537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Skowronek F, Sagemann J, Stenzel F et al (1994) Evolution of heavy-metal profiles in River Weser Estuary sediments, Germany. Environ Geol 24:223–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Soto-Jiménez MF, Páez-Osuna F (2008) Diagenetic processes on metals in hypersaline mudflat sediments from a subtropical saltmarsh (SE Gulf of California): postdepositional mobility andgeochemical fractions. Appl Geochem 23:1202–1217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. State Ocean Bureau (2016) Bulletin of marine environment quality of China in 2015, Beijing (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  36. Sutherland RA (2000) Bed sediment-associated trace metals in an urban stream, Oahu. Hawaii. Environ Geol 39:611–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Valdés J, Vargas G, Sideddine A et al (2005) Distribution and enrichment evaluation of heavy metals in Mejillones Bay (23°S), Northern Chile: geochemical and statistical approach. Mar Pollut Bull 50:1558–1568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang SF, Jia YF, Wang SY et al (2010) Fractionation of heavy metals in shallow marine sediments from Jinzhou Bay. China. J Environ Sci 22:23–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yang XL, Yuan XT, Zhang AG et al (2015) Spatial distribution and sources of heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbon in the sand flats of Shuangtaizi Estuary, Bohai Sea of China. Mar Pollut Bull 95:503–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhang J, Liu C (2002) Riverine composition and estuarine geochemistry of particulate metals in China—Weathering features, anthropogenic impact and chemical fluxes. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 54:1051–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhuang YY, Allen HE, Fu GM (1994) Effect of aeration of sediment on cadmium-binding. Environ Toxicol Chem 13:717–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zourarah B, Maanan M, Carruesco C et al (2007) Fifty-year sedimentary record of heavy metal pollution in the lagoon of Oualidia (Moroccan Atlantic coast). Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 1–2:359–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.China University of Geosciences in BeijingBeijingChina
  2. 2.CNPC Research Institute of Safety and Environment TechnologyBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations