Source Identification of Selected Heavy Metals in Atmospheric Dust of Kerman City

Document Type : Original Articles


1 MSc. Student of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan

2 Professor of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan


Dust deposition phenomenon is an important climatic and environmental issue in arid to semi-arid regions which causes great losses for human. This study was carried out to compare the concentration of selected heavy metals in soil samples with that of dust and also to identify the possible sources of heavy metals in dust of Kerman city. A total of 245 dust samples were monthly collected from 35 study sites during the months of May to November 1391, using glass traps. To compare the results of atmospheric dust with those of soil, 60 surface soil samples (0-10 cm) from outside Kerman and 35 soil samples from urban areas were also collected. After sample preparation, the total concentration of major heavy metals including Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, and Mn was determined by an atomic absorption spectrometer following the digestion of soil and dust samples with 6N HNO3solution. Cluster analysis and principal component analysis were performed to identify possible sources of heavy metals in dust. The results showed that heavy metal concentrations in atmospheric dust samples were higher than those in soil samples indicating the influence of human factors. There was a highly significant correlation among Cu, Pb, and Zn and also among Cu, Mn, and Ni indicating different sources for these 2 groups of heavy metals. Also, principal component analysis and cluster analysis confirmed the results and further indicated that Ni and Mn derived from natural sources while Cu, Pb, and Zn had an anthropogenic origin. Since the role of human activities on increasing the concentration of pollutants is evident, it is necessary to take appropriate management measures to reduce the amount of pollutants produced in factories and various industries.


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