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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030437

Arsenic Concentration in the Surface Water of a Former Mining Area: The La Junta Creek, Baja California Sur, Mexico

1
Departamento Académico de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Carretera al sur Km 5.5, La Paz 23080, Mexico
2
Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste S. C. (Cibnor) Mar Bermejo 195, Playa Palo de Santa Rita, La Paz 23096, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 20 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arsenic Contamination, Bioavailability and Public Health)
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Abstract

The mining activity in the San Antonio-El Triunfo district, located in a mountainous region at 60 km southeast of La Paz, occured for more than 250 years and left behind severe contamination of soils and riverbed sediments which led to elevated concentrations of arsenic and other trace elements in the surface- and groundwater of the region. Although the main mining activity ended around 1911, contamination is still beeing distributed, especially from left behind tailings and mine waste piles. The contamination levels in the groundwater have been reported in several studies, but there is little information available on the surface water quality, and especially the temporal variation. In this study, we analyzed the surface water of the La Junta creek, in the southern part of the San Antonio-El Triunfo mining district. The working hypothesis was that by means of a spatial analysis of surface water and shallow groundwater, in combination with the temporal observation of the concentrations in runoff water, the effects of different sources of arsenic (natural geogene anomalies, due to historic mining activity, and hydrothermal related impact) in the La Junta creek can be recognized. This present study revealed that historic mining activity caused a mojor impact of arsenic but less contamination was observed than in the northern part of the district and elevated arsenic concentrations in stream water generally occurred during times of low streamflow. View Full-Text
Keywords: San Antonio-El Triunfo mining district 1; hydrothermal and disseminated gold deposit 2; Los Cabos block 3; arsenopyrite oxidation 4 San Antonio-El Triunfo mining district 1; hydrothermal and disseminated gold deposit 2; Los Cabos block 3; arsenopyrite oxidation 4
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wurl, J.; Imaz Lamadrid, M.; Mendez-Rodriguez, L.; Acosta Vargas, B. Arsenic Concentration in the Surface Water of a Former Mining Area: The La Junta Creek, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 437.

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