Patterns in soil contamination across an abandoned steel and iron plant: Proximity to source and seasonal wind direction as drivers

Pingguo Yang, Patrick J. Drohan, Miao Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Via magnetic susceptibility and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, we examined soil heavy metal contents across an abandoned steel and iron plant that has been in production for 50 years. Soil magnetic susceptibility and heavy metal contents similarly decreased with increasing distance from the plant's industrial, central area. Results indicate that the mean value of soil magnetic susceptibility was 2727 × 10−8 m3·kg−1 and the max peak was 100 m from the plant's center. Frequency dependent susceptibility values less than 2%, suggest the presence of coarse grains from industrial activities. A significant positive correlation occurs between magnetic susceptibility and Mn, Fe, Cu and Pb. Irregular-shaped and non-spherical aggregates are the main morphology of technogenic magnetic particles found in soil samples. Our results indicate that the North, Northeast and East sampling areas generally have the highest pollutants values and these directions correspond with prevailing wind directions at differing times of the year. Mapping the spatial distribution of metals could lead to high-resolution risk targeting areas for remediation and land use planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104537
StatePublished - Jul 2020


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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