Preference ratios for mercury and other chemical elements in the Madeira River, Brazil
Data de publicação2003-03-01
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Samples of water, suspended solids, and bottom sediments from the Madeira River, Rondonia state, Brazil, were physically and chemically analyzed to investigate the actual Hg mobilization in the aquatic environment and compare it with that of other heavy metals and elements in the area. Two dimensionless Hg preference ratios were defined, expressing (1) the ratio of Hg and other elements in the liquid phase divided by the ratio of Hg and other elements in bottom sediments (P(l.phase)) and (2) the ratio of Hg and other elements in the particulate matter divided by the ratio of Hg and other elements in bottom sediments (P(s.solids)). These preference ratios are useful for comparing Hg transport in three different phases (liquid, particulate matter, and bottom sediments). They also were applicable to any analyzed elementin the area studied, because they generated an almost constant value when the maximum calculated was divided by the minimum (P(l.phase) = 2931; P(s.solids) = 84) and because of their sensitivity to the dominance of sorption processes by Fe oxides and hydroxides. Mercury could be transported preferentially to other analyzed elements in the particulate phase only if its concentration reached values at least 10(4)-fold higher than those expected or quantified in the area. (C) 2002 Elsevier B.V. Ltd. All rights reserved.