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1 April 2013 Speciation of rare earth elements in surface sediments of Lagoon of Aveiro (N Portugal)
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Abstract

Martins, V.A., Dias, J.A., Laut, L.M., Sobrinho, F., Santos, J.F., Rodrigues, M. A., Frontalini, F., Miranda, P., Terroso, D., Fernández-Fernández, S., Bernardes, C., Figueira, R., Sousa, S., Amaral, P., Mahiques, M., Bernabeu, A., Rey, D., Rubio, B., and Rocha, F., 2013. Speciation of rare earth elements in surface sediments of Lagoon of Aveiro (N Portugal).

The goal of this work is to determine the distribution of the rare earth elements in the surface sediments in the Ria de Aveiro (N Portugal) coastal lagoon. Concentrations of REE (La, Ce, Nd, Sm) and related elements (Th, Y and Sc) were evaluated by total digestion of sediments in the fine fraction of 33 grab-samples of surface sediments. The same method was followed for Al, Ca, S and Zr, related to terrigenous sources, but also, in the cases of Ca and S, to biogenic and quimiogenic processes. Concentrations of REE and related elements were additionally assessed by a three-step sequential chemical extraction (E1-3) procedure coupled with ICP MS determination. The geochemical results were processed by statistical analysis combining textural and mineralogical data (XRD techniques).

The results show that mobile La, Ce, Nd, Sm and Y are mostly adsorbed by amorphous Mn hydroxide (E3), secondly associate with organic matter (E2) and only in a very small extent are adsorbed on clay mineral structural sheets or associated with carbonates (E1). Thorium and Sc are almost exclusively linked with E2. Ytrium shows a very high percentage of availability, whilst Ce, La, Sc and Th are by far less mobile.

Results of cluster analysis reveals that sediments are enriched in: i) quartz, feldspars and anhydrite in the most hydrodynamic areas with good connection with the ocean, where tidal currents are stronger and water is salty and well-oxygenated; ii) mud, TOC, phyllosilicates, siderite, pyrite and S in low hydrodynamic areas. In these areas, pyrite and siderite can result from reducing bacterial activity in subsurface sediments. Early diagenetic changes in the sediments would also influence the elements adsorption to clay minerals and their co-precipitation with carbonates (E1). The highest values of REE, in E1, occur in distal locations in relation to the mouths of rivers and streams. The retention of the elements in this phase may occur mainly in the lagoon, depending on the availability of carbonates and clay minerals and their assemblage's composition. Concentrations of REE and related elements adsorbed by organic matter (E2) and by amorphous Mn hydroxide (E3) tend to rise near the rivers mouths and may be related to geochemical processes that take place upstream in the course of the rivers before the entry of sediments into the lagoon. Elemental concentrations retained in the structure of mineral phases (R), also tend to reach high values near the rivers mouths but in low hydrodynamic areas. There is some fractionation between Th and the light REE which is more evident in the Murtosa channel that is fed mainly by the Antuã river.

Received: 7 December 2012; Accepted: 6 March 2013; Published: 1 April 2013
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