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Alteration of As-bearing phases in a small watershed located on a high grade arsenic-geochemical anomaly (French Massif Central)

Abstract : At a watershed scale, sediments and soil weathering exerts a control on solid and dissolved transport of trace elements in surface waters and it can be considered as a source of pollution. The studied subwatershed (1.5 km2) was located on an As geochemical anomaly. The studied soil profile showed a significant decrease of As content from 1500 mg.kg-1 in the 135-165 cm deepest soil layer to 385 mg.kg-1 in the upper 0-5 cm soil layer. Directly in the stream, suspended matter and the <63 μm fraction of bed sediments had As concentrations greater than 400 mg.kg-1. In all these solid fractions, the main representative As-bearing phases were determined at two different observation scales: bulk analyses using X-ray absorption structure spectroscopy (XAS) and microanalyses using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and associated electron probe microanalyses (EPMA), as well as micro-Raman spectroscopy and synchrotron-based micro-scanning X-ray diffraction (μSXRD) characterization. Three main As-bearing phases were identified: (i) arsenates (mostly pharmacosiderite), the most concentrated phases As in both the coherent weathered bedrock and the 135-165 cm soil layer but not observed in the river solid fraction, (ii) Fe-oxyhydroxides with in situ As content up to 15.4 wt.% in the deepest soil layer, and (iii) aluminosilicates, the least concentrated As carriers. The mineralogical evolution of As-bearing phases in the soil profile, coupled with the decrease of bulk As content, may be related to pedogenesis processes, suggesting an evolution of arsenates into As-rich Fe-oxyhydroxides. Therefore, weathering and mineralogical evolution of these As-rich phases may release As to surface waters.
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Angélique Bossy, Cécile Grosbois, S. Beauchemin, Alexandra Courtin-Nomade, W. Hendershot, et al.. Alteration of As-bearing phases in a small watershed located on a high grade arsenic-geochemical anomaly (French Massif Central). Applied Geochemistry, Elsevier, 2010, 25 (1-2), pp.1889-1901. ⟨10.1016/j.apgeochem.2010.10.004⟩. ⟨insu-00528260⟩

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