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The spatial distribution pattern of heavy metal concentrations in urban soils — a study of anthropogenic effects in Berehove, Ukraine

Tímea Vince
  • Department of Landscape Protection and Environmental Geography, University of Debrecen, 4032, Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1., Hungary
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/ György Szabó
  • Department of Landscape Protection and Environmental Geography, University of Debrecen, 4032, Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1., Hungary
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/ Zoltán Csoma / Gábor Sándor
  • Department of Landscape Protection and Environmental Geography, University of Debrecen, 4032, Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1., Hungary
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/ Szilárd Szabó
Published Online: 2014-08-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13533-012-0179-7


In the present study we examined the Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn contamination levels of the soils of Berehove, a small city in West-Ukraine. As a first step we determined the spatial distribution of the heavy metal contents of the urban soils; then, by studying the land use structure of the city and by statistical analysis we identified the major sources of contamination; we established a matrix of correlations between the heavy metal contents of the soils and the different types of land use; and finally, we drew a conclusion regarding the possible origin(s) of these heavy metals. By means of multivariate statistical analysis we established that of the investigated metals, Ba, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn accumulated in the city’s soils primarily as a result of anthropogenic activity. In the most polluted urban areas (i.e. in the industrial zones and along the roads and highways with heavy traffic), in the case of several metals (Ba, Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn) we measured concentration levels even two or three times higher than the threshold limit values. Furthermore, Cr, Fe and Ni are primarily of lithogenic origin; therefore, the soil concentrations of these heavy metals depend mainly on the chemical composition of the soil-forming rocks.

Keywords: heavy metal pollution; human impact; multivariate statistics; urban soils

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About the article

Published Online: 2014-08-06

Published in Print: 2014-09-01

Citation Information: Open Geosciences, Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 330–343, ISSN (Online) 2391-5447, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13533-012-0179-7.

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