Heavy metal geochemistry and dispersion pattern in coastal sediments, soil, and water of Kedron Brook floodplain area, Brisbane, Australia

Aro V. Arakel*, Tian Hongjun

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    46 Citations (Scopus)


    Hydrochemical monitoring and heavy metal speciation by sequential extraction techniques indicate direct relationships among enrichment of the heavy metals (copper, lead, zinc, iron, manganese, and cadmium), soil acidification, and salinization in Kedron Brook floodplain area of Brisbane, Australia. Assessment of modes of occurrence and distribution pattern of the heavy metals in soil, sediment, and water environments of this coastal plain indicates that the total concentrations and reactive fractions of these metals are elevated in soil and channel bed sediments. Such geochemical signatures reflect the complex influence of sources and a combination of natural and anthropogenic processes on concentration and dispersion within the coastal zone. According to a working model presented, the enrichment of the heavy metals, like cadmium, in the soil and sediment profiles is triggered by capillary pumping during low groundwater standing levels, when the metals are in a stable form associated with dry gels. During higher groundwater levels and occasional flood events, these metals become mobilized when the gel material is transformed into soluble colloidal phase. This study indicates that the potential impacts of heavy metal pollution on the coastal ecosystems can not be assessed and managed in isolation solely by considering the natural cause-effect relationships. The complex nature of sediment-soil-water interactions in the coastal hydrodynamic zones can produce a manifold of effects, including mobilization, concentration, and/or dispersion of heavy metals at both short and longer time scales. In the case of Kedron Brook, chemical erosion due to variation in natural climatic and hydrodynamic conditions contributes significantly to concentration of heavy metals in the coastal environments. Therefore, a sound understanding of the prevailing hydrogeochemical processes is essential for prediction of the fate of heavy metals and establishment of meaningful coastal zone management strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-231
    Number of pages13
    JournalEnvironmental Geology and Water Sciences
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 1992


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