Geostatistical conditional simulation for the assessment of contaminated land by abandoned heavy metal mining

Ersoy A., YÜNSEL T. Y. , Atici U.

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY, vol.23, no.1, pp.96-109, 2008 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 23 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/tox.20314
  • Page Numbers: pp.96-109


Abandoned mine workings can undoubtedly cause varying degrees of contamination of soil with heavy metals such as lead and zinc has occurred on a global scale. Exposure to these elements may cause to harm human health and environment. In the study, a total of 269 soil samples were collected at 1, 5, and 10 m regular grid intervals of 100 X 100 m area of Carsington Pasture in the UK. Cell declustering technique was applied to the data set due to no statistical representativity. Directional experimental semivariograms of the elements for the transformed data showed that both geometric and zonal anisotropy exists in the data. The most evident spatial dependence structure of the continuity for the directional experimental semivariogram, characterized by spherical and exponential models of Pb and Zn were obtained. This study reports the spatial distribution and uncertainty of Pb and Zn concentrations in soil at the study site using a probabilistic approach. The approach was based on geostatistical sequential Gaussian simulation (SGS), which is used to yield a series of conditional images characterized by equally probable spatial distributions of the heavy elements concentrations across the area. Postprocessing of many simulations allowed the mapping of contaminated and uncontaminated areas, and provided a model for the uncertainty in the spatial distribution of element concentrations. Maps of the simulated Pb and Zn concentrations revealed the extent and severity of contamination. SGS was validated by statistics, histogram, variogram reproduction, and simulation errors. The maps of the elements might be used in the remediation studies, help decision-makers and others involved in the abandoned heavy metal mining site in the world. (C) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.