Impact of terrestrial mining and intensive agriculture in pollution of estuarine surface sediments: Spatial distribution of trace metals in the Gulf of Uraba, Colombia


The Gulf of Uraba (northwestern Colombia) is a geostrategic region, rich in biodiversity and natural resources. Its economy is mainly based on agribusinesses and mining activities. In this research is determined the impact of these activities in bottom surface sediments of the estuary. Thus, grain size, total organic carbon, total nitrogen, carbonates, Ag, Al, Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn concentrations from 17 surface sediment samples were obtained and enrichment factors (EF) as well as geo-accumulation indices (Igeo) were calculated to determine the contamination level in the gulf. EF and Igeo values revealed that the estuary is extremely contaminated with Ag and moderately contaminated with Zn. Therefore, the observed enrichment of Ag may be explained as a residue of the extraction of gold and platinum-group metals and the enrichment with Zn associated mainly to pesticides used in banana plantations. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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