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Geochemical Characteristics of Soils from Selected Districts in the Upper East Region, Ghana: Implications for Trace Element Pollution and Enrichment

Author(s): Gordon Foli | Prosper M. Nude | Ohene B. Apea

Journal: Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences
ISSN 2041-0484

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 186;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Anthropogenic | enrichment factor | geo-accumulation index | major elements | pollution load index

This study assessed the major and selected trace elements i.e., vanadium (V), chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), arsenic (As), lead (Pb), tin (Sn), strontium (Sr), zirconium (Zr), barium (Ba), gallium (Ga), yttrium (Y) concentrations in soils sampled from the B-horizon from selected communities in the Upper East region of Ghana. The area which is mostly underlain by granitoids, is characterized by extensive agricultural activities, soil erosion, land degradation and artisanal mining at places. The objectives were to determine the sources of these elements, and to evaluate the levels of trace element enrichments, pollution and potential risks in the area. The concentration values of the elements in the soils were compared to their respective background reference values to establish possible enrichments and pollution. The relative enrichments of the trace elements were evaluated using Enrichment Factor (EF) and geo-accumulation index (Igeo), while Pollution Load Index (PLI) was used to compare enrichments within the east and west zones of the study area. The results show that while the major elements reflect the bedrock compositions, the trace elements were derived from both natural sources such as weathering of underlying bedrocks, and anthropogenic sources such as mining and other land use activities. Elements such as Cr, Zn, As, Pb, Sn, Sr, Zr, Ba and Y were enriched by various degrees while V, Co, Ni, Cu and Ga were not. The results also show that the east side of the study area was relatively more polluted in trace elements than the west.
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