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Trace element distributions in soils developed in loess deposits from northern France

Abstract : A pedo-geochemical survey was carried out in the Nord-Pas de Calais region (France) on soils developed in loess deposits. Total concentrations of Al, Fe and 18 trace elements, as well as common soil characteristics, were determined in samples from 52 surface and 97 deep horizons developed in these loess deposits. The Pb isotopic composition was determined in two sola. The composition of deep horizons, compared with that of the upper continental crust, with that of horizons developed from 21 other sedimentary rocks from the region and with that of loess from various parts of the world, confirms that loess from the Nord-Pas de Calais region derives from multi-recycled and well-mixed ancient sedimentary rocks. Correlation analysis shows that least mobile (i.e. ionic potential (Z/r) is between 3 and 7) geogenic elements (Bi, Co, Cr, Cu, In, Ni, Pb, Sn, Tl, V, Zn) are associated with the fraction <2 µm (which we define as 'lutum'). More mobile elements (As, Cd, Hg, Mn, Mo, Sb, Se) are less associated with this fraction. Cadmium is particularly linked to Mn. The distribution of [trace element]/([Al] or [Fe]) in the French loess gives the background content for soils developed from most sedimentary materials in northwestern Europe. Topsoils are enriched with all the trace elements examined, except Co, Cr and Ni. Enrichments with Cd, Cu, Mn and Zn are greater in cultivated soils than in forest soils. Enrichments with Pb and with Cu, Hg, Mo, Sb, Se and Sn are mainly due to human contamination through atmospheric fallout. Organic matter seems to act as a sink for all the exogenous trace elements.
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Thibault Sterckeman, F. Douay, Denis Baize, B. Fourrier, Nicolas Proix, et al.. Trace element distributions in soils developed in loess deposits from northern France. European Journal of Soil Science, Wiley, 2006, 57 (3), pp.392-410. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-2389.2005.00750.x⟩. ⟨hal-01486241⟩



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