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Total mercury in terrestrial systems (air-soil-plant-water) at the mining region of San Joaquín, Queretaro, Mexico

Martínez-Trinidad,Sergio; Hernández Silva,Gilberto; Ramírez Islas,Martha Elena; Martínez Reyes,Juventino; Solorio Munguía,Gregorio; Solís Valdez,Sara; García Martínez,Rocío
Fonte: Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM Publicador: Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica Formato: text/html
Publicado em 01/03/2013 EN
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Deficient management of cinnabar mining left the San Joaquín region with high concentrations of mercury in its soils (2.4 - 4164 mg kg-1). Numerous cinnabar mines have contributed to the dispersion of mercury into agricultural (0.5 - 314 mg kg-1) and forest (0.2 - 69 mg kg-1) soils. Sediments are a natural means of transportation for mercury, causing its spreading, especially in areas near mine entrances (0.6 - 687 mg kg-1). The nearness of maize crops to mines favors mercury accumulation in the different plant structures, such as roots, stems, leaves, and grain (0.04 - 8.2 mg kg-1); these being related to mercury volatilization and accumulation in soils. Mercury vapor present in the settlements could indicate a constant volatilization from lands and soils (22 - 153 ng m-3). The mercury levels found in the soils, in maize grain, and in the air resulted greater than the standards reported by the Official Mexican Norm (NOM) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Mercury in rainwater is due mainly to the presence of suspended atmospheric particles, later deposited on the surface (1.5 - 339 µg l-1). Mercury dissolution was found in the drinking water (10 - 170 ng l-1), with concentrations below those established by the NOM and the WHO. The contamination existing in the San Joaquín region does not reach the levels of the world's greatest mercury producers: Almaden (Spain) and Idrija (Slovenia). It is...