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Charles University in Prague (2017)

Mineralogy of particulates from semi-arid soils polluted by mining and smelting and their transformation/re-mobilization during bushfires

Tuhý Marek

Titre : Mineralogy of particulates from semi-arid soils polluted by mining and smelting and their transformation/re-mobilization during bushfires

Mineralogie částic ze semiaridních půd znečištěných těžbou a metalurgií a jejich transformace/remobilizace při požárech

Auteur : Tuhý Marek

Université de soutenance  : Charles University in Prague

Grade : Mgr Diploma thesis 2017

Résumé
This thesis is focused on biomass-containing topsoils from a highly contaminated semi-arid area in the vicinity of mining and smelting operations in Tsumeb and Kombat in the northern Namibia. The highest concentrations of inorganic contaminants were found in samples from Tsumeb and attained the following values (mg/kg) : As 1920, Cd 81, Cu 5840, Hg 7,66, Pb 4880, Sb 266, Zn 3310. X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron microprobe analysis (EPMA) have been used for determination of mineralogical composition of particulates adhering to surfaces of biomass and occurring in the heavy mineral fraction of topsoils. Quantitative partitioning of contaminants within individual mineral phases has been determined using autoSEM ; contaminants were mainly bound in the slag glass (As : 16.7 % ; Cu : 12.7 % ; Pb : 26.2 % ; Zn : 33.9 % of total concentration) and in metal(loid)-rich Fe-hydroxides (As : 14.4 % ; Cu : 7.7 % ; Pb : 21.6 % ; Zn : 32.5 %). On biomass- rich topsoil samples, we have experimentally proved that bushfires can be responsible for transformation and re-mobilization of contaminants. Mercury is completely released at temperatures around 300 °C. In the same temperature range, also As anad Sb are released due to arsenolite (As2O3) thermal degradation. Cadmium is released at temperatures above 700 °C, together with a significant fraction of As due to thermal decomposition of arsenates. In contrast, Pb, Cu and Zn are predominantly concentrated in the residual ash and their release is rather limited due to binding in thermally stable slag particles

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