This geochemical study is focused on the easternmost part of the Po River alluvial plain in Northern Italy, which is interested by widespread agricultural activities, investigating a reclaimed sector of the Province of Ferrara, known as “Valle del Mezzano” (MLL). In this area, the sedimentary facies (and the related soils) reflect climatic changes and human impacts that deeply modified the configuration of the local drainage system, which is represented by the deltaic terminal part of the Po River often characterised by the development of marsh wetlands where peat deposition took place. The chemical-mineralogical characterization of these soils is important in order to compare the local geochemical backgrounds with those recorded in other sectors of the River Po plain and to monitor if the observed concentration exceeds critical thresholds defined by the environmental regulations. The analyses reported in this contribution include a) measurement of the soil salinity; b) nutrient evaluation; c) major and trace element concentrations carried out on bulk soils; d) tests of metal extraction with both aqua regia and EDTA to highlight the distinct elemental mobility. Results indicate: 1) high soil salinity, often with drastic increase of sodium and chloride along the soil profiles; 2) high nitrogen content (in part related to anthropogenic activities) on superficial horizons and NO3 decrease along the soil profiles; 3) comparative enrichments in heavy metals with respect to other soils of the Province, which indicate that peat deposits are effective in trapping metals from anthropogenic sources. This, in turn, implies potential geochemical risks for the local agricultural activities. In this regard, specific concerns are related to the high nickel and arsenic content of MLL soils, due to the mobility of these elements and their attitude to be up-taken by plants. Therefore we underline the importance of ecotoxicology studies, in order to trace the pathways and bio-magnification of environmental contaminants along the food chain.

Geochemical and mineralogical characterization of reclaimed soils: a casestudy in the Po River Delta (Northern Italy)

DI GIUSEPPE, Dario;BIANCHINI, Gianluca;MARTUCCI, Annalisa;BECCALUVA, Luigi
2013

Abstract

This geochemical study is focused on the easternmost part of the Po River alluvial plain in Northern Italy, which is interested by widespread agricultural activities, investigating a reclaimed sector of the Province of Ferrara, known as “Valle del Mezzano” (MLL). In this area, the sedimentary facies (and the related soils) reflect climatic changes and human impacts that deeply modified the configuration of the local drainage system, which is represented by the deltaic terminal part of the Po River often characterised by the development of marsh wetlands where peat deposition took place. The chemical-mineralogical characterization of these soils is important in order to compare the local geochemical backgrounds with those recorded in other sectors of the River Po plain and to monitor if the observed concentration exceeds critical thresholds defined by the environmental regulations. The analyses reported in this contribution include a) measurement of the soil salinity; b) nutrient evaluation; c) major and trace element concentrations carried out on bulk soils; d) tests of metal extraction with both aqua regia and EDTA to highlight the distinct elemental mobility. Results indicate: 1) high soil salinity, often with drastic increase of sodium and chloride along the soil profiles; 2) high nitrogen content (in part related to anthropogenic activities) on superficial horizons and NO3 decrease along the soil profiles; 3) comparative enrichments in heavy metals with respect to other soils of the Province, which indicate that peat deposits are effective in trapping metals from anthropogenic sources. This, in turn, implies potential geochemical risks for the local agricultural activities. In this regard, specific concerns are related to the high nickel and arsenic content of MLL soils, due to the mobility of these elements and their attitude to be up-taken by plants. Therefore we underline the importance of ecotoxicology studies, in order to trace the pathways and bio-magnification of environmental contaminants along the food chain.
Reclaimed soils; Po Delta; Ferrara Province; Geochemistry; Heavy metals
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/1863321
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