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You are here: Home » Past Issues » Volume 7, 2012 - Number 3 » ON POSSIBLE ORIGIN OF BACKGROUND CONTENTS OF HEAVY METALS AND METALLOIDS IN THE SUBSURFACE PENNSYLVANIAN TÉSENY METASANDSTONES, SW HUNGARY


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Andrea VARGA1, Béla RAUCSIK1 & György SZAKMÁNY2
1Department of Geology, University of Pécs, Ifjúság útja 6., H-7624 Pécs, Hungary; andrea.varga.geol@gmail.com,
raucsik.bela@gmail.com
2Department of Petrology and Geochemistry, Eötvös University, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary;
gyorgy.szakmany@geology.elte.hu

ON POSSIBLE ORIGIN OF BACKGROUND CONTENTS OF HEAVY METALS AND METALLOIDS IN THE SUBSURFACE PENNSYLVANIAN TÉSENY METASANDSTONES, SW HUNGARY

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Abstract:

Potentially toxic trace elements such as chromium, cobalt, arsenic and antimony exist in many sediments and sedimentary rocks, and therefore require an understanding of their occurrence, distribution and accumulation in the geologic environment. Ten trace elements (Sc, Cr, Co, Rb, Cs, Hf, Th, U, As and Sb) were quantified by neutron activation analysis in drill core samples comprising medium to very coarse-grained sandstones from the Pennsylvanian molasse Téseny Metasandstone Formation (TMF), SW Hungary. The results reveal a large range of the local background levels of these trace elemental concentrations. With regard to the toxic heavy metals and metalloids, the total Cr concentrations in the sandstone samples have a range of 15–150 mg/kg with a median of 47 mg/kg. Cobalt is present in the range of 7–19 mg/kg (median 9 mg/kg). Arsenic and antimony concentrations vary between 2 and 40 mg/kg (median 5 mg/kg) and between 0.4 and 2.5 mg/kg (median 0.8 mg/kg), respectively. Trace elemental geochemistry of the samples reflects the immature petrographic composition of the TMF sandstones, corresponding to a felsic source area, and the presence of abundant illite±muscovite. Additionally, the relatively enhanced As and Sb contents in some samples could be related to hydrothermal activity in the region. Trace elemental concentrations of the TMF samples are comparable to those of world-average siliciclastic sedimentary rocks indicating that the potentially toxic heavy metal contents of the TMF do not significantly affect the groundwater quality in the region. Water-rock interactions at the marginal area of the Drava depression, however, may contribute some metalloids to groundwaters if the hydrogeochemical conditions are favourable for their release into solution.


Keyword: sandstone, heavy metals, metalloids, local natural background, sulfide minerals, vein system


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