Geo-Spatial Characterization of Soil Mercury and Arsenic at a High-Altitude Bolivian Gold Mine

Glen D. Johnson, Brian Pavilonis, Jack Caravanos, Jean Grassman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Soil mercury concentrations at a typical small-scale mine site in the Bolivian Andes were elevated (28–737 mg/kg or ppm) in localized areas where mercury amalgams were either formed or vaporized to release gold, but was not detectable beyond approximately 10 m from its sources. Arsenic was measurable, exceeding known background levels throughout the mine site (77–137,022 ppm), and was also measurable through the local village of Ingenio (36–1803 ppm). Although arsenic levels were high at all surveyed locations, its spatial pattern followed mercury, being highest where mercury was high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-264
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Volume100
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Artisanal and small-scale gold mining
  • Mercury
  • Soil metal contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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