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Authors: González-Guzmán, Reneé* 
Inguaggiato, Claudio* 
Brusca, Lorenzo* 
González-Acevedo, Zayre I* 
Bernard-Romero, Rubén* 
Title: Assessment of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) sources on soils surrounding a fossil fuel power plant in a semi-arid/arid environment: A case study from the Sonoran Desert
Journal: Applied Geochemistry 
Series/Report no.: /136 (2022)
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: Jan-2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2021.105158
Keywords: Environmental geochemistry
Geogenic sources
Anthropogenic impact
Power plant pollution
Puerto libertad
Subject ClassificationSolid Earth 
Abstract: Understanding the sources of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in soils is a worldwide challenge that requires effective discrimination between geogenic and anthropogenic contributions, particularly in areas with certain geological complexity. This study aims to examine the chemical contents of 23 topsoil samples collected from the surroundings of a fossil fuel power plant in the village of Puerto Libertad (Sonoran Desert, Mexico). The study did not exclusively focus on the source identification of the priority PTEs to evaluate soil pollution. Furthermore, major oxides and immobile trace element (Zr, Hf, and REE: La→Lu) data were provided for a reliable assessment of the provenance of the soils. The relatively high SiO2 contents (65.26–75.42 wt%, anhydrous basis), the Post-Archean Australian Shale (PAAS)-normalized REE patterns, and the uniformity of the values of the Index of Compositional Variability (ICV = 1.11–2.72) and the Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA = 31.65–51.79) suggest that the soils were derived from intermediate to felsic source rocks, controlled by the local weathering of the parent bedrocks, under a low degree of chemical weathering conditions. The PTE data were treated following a robust workflow, which included the use of the enrichment factor (EF), the Spearman rank correlation (ρ), and multivariate statistical analyses allowed the generation of significant elemental associations and the identification of pools related either to the geological background or to anthropogenic activities. The results suggesting that Mo and Zn concentrations present a moderate anthropogenic influence while the concentrations of Pb, Sn, Cu, Cd, As, Cr, and Co are predominantly of geogenic origin. Vanadium (avg. EFV = 3.4) and Ni (avg. EFNi = 4.6) were the most enriched elements in the soils. Moreover, the highest values of the integrated Nemerow Pollution Index (PIN>3) were recorded at the sampling stations closer to the village, suggesting point-source pollution by the emissions of the power station. Finally, in this paper is traced the extent of the particulate released into the atmosphere, which can be dispersed in a wide area into the Sonoran Desert.
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