DOI: 10.3390/min14010049 ISSN: 2075-163X

Application of Multivariate Statistical Methods for Determining Geochemical Trends of Elements on the Territory of Slovenia

Robert Šajn, Mateja Gosar, Jasminka Alijagić, Tamara Teršič
  • Geology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

The main objective of this study is to map multi-element geochemical anomalies in soil on a regional scale. We aimed to determine and evaluate the baseline geochemical values and main geochemical trends in soil that may serve as reference values against any future changes. A total of 817 topsoil samples (0–10 cm) were collected in a 5 × 5 km grid and analyzed for 35 elements using ICP-ES after multi-acid digestions (HClO4/HNO3/HCl/HF) and 53 elements using ICP-MS after modified aqua regia digestion (HCl/HNO3/H2O). The analytical results for the two different digestion methods (multi-acid digestion vs. aqua regia) were also compared for each chemical element. Multivariate statistical methods were applied to identify the geochemical trends and main sources of trace elements over the territory of Slovenia. Based on these results, seven natural and one mixed natural/anthropogenic geochemical association were established. The contents and trends of the determined factors are presented according to 8 natural units, 4 drainage areas, and geological units characteristic of Slovenia. The identified anthropogenic geochemical association combines toxic elements (Ag, Bi, Cd, Hg, P, Pb, S, Sn, and Zn). Increased values of these elements can be found in mining areas and metallurgic centers, in Quaternary sediments of the Sava River, and Adriatic Basin as the consequence of past mining activities and in the Julian Alps, where their origin could be connected to the atmospheric deposition.

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