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Soils in the semi-arid area of the El Melah Lagoon (NE Tunisia) -- Variability associated with a closing evolution

Abstract : Soils of the semi-arid area of the El Melah coastal lagoon (NE Tunisia), with a closing evolution dynamic, were studied aiming: (1) the chemical and mineralogical characterization of surface and subsurface layers of soil profiles from locations previously submerged and of soils developed on dunes; (2) to evaluate the dependence on the environment conditions of the geochemical patterns of the soils; and (3) to determine chemical and mineralogical variations with the emersion of the sediments resulting from the decrease in the extent of the area permanently covered by water in the lagoon. The compositional results obtained showed significant differences depending on the environment (littoral plain, old dunes and sandy spit), but soils of the different environmental zones studied do not appear to be significantly polluted as far as trace elements are concerned. Among the elements studied, high element/Sc ratios and variations were found for As, Sb and Zn. Antimony is more concentrated in coarser samples suggesting its adsorption in Fe or Mn oxides coating quartz grain surfaces. Arsenic and zinc may be incorporated into the carbonates structure, as well as adsorbed on, or coprecipitated with, iron oxides. Zinc may also be significantly incorporated in clay minerals. Iron was found to be more oxidized in the cultivated soil from the old dune strand; and more reduced in the sandy spit where ankerite occurs suggesting the reduction of Fe3+ in oxide/hydroxides by microorganisms and incorporation of Fe2+ in carbonates. REE patterns, particularly the HREE/LREE are correlated with carbonates, indicating preferential incorporation of the HREE in carbonates, and of the LREE in clay minerals/ iron oxides. High Ga contents were found in soils and sediments rich in clay minerals/Al, suggesting its incorporation in clay minerals structure. Therefore, Ga may be used as an indicator of the clay minerals proportion in sediments and soils. Carbonates, sulphates, besides Fe and/or Mn oxides and clay minerals, appear to play an important role on the trace elements distribution.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 5:20:04 PM
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M.I. Prudêncio, M.I. Dias, F. Ruiz, J.C. Waerenborgh, J. Duplay, et al.. Soils in the semi-arid area of the El Melah Lagoon (NE Tunisia) -- Variability associated with a closing evolution. CATENA, Elsevier, 2010, 80 (1), pp.9-22. ⟨10.1016/j.catena.2009.08.006⟩. ⟨insu-00579412⟩



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