Abstract: Mercury concentrations in the environment (river sediments and fish) and in the hair of artisanal gold miners and inhabitants of the Gorontalo Utara Regency were determined in order to understand the status of contamination, sources and their impacts on human health. Mercury concentrations in the sediments along the Wubudu and Anggrek rivers are already above the tolerable level declared safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile, commonly consumed fish, such as snapper, have mercury levels above the threshold limit (0.5 μg/g). The mean mercury concentrations in the hair of a group of inhabitants from Anggrek and Sumalata are higher than those in hair from control group (the inhabitants of Monano, Tolinggula and Kwandang). The mean mercury concentration in the hair of female inhabitants is higher than that in the hair of male inhabitants in each group. Neurological examinations were performed on 44 participants of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) miners and inhabitants of Anggrek and Sumalata. From the 12 investigated symptoms, four common symptoms were already observed among the participants, namely, bluish gums, Babinski reflex, labial reflex and tremor.
Abstract: Increasing dependence on groundwater requires a detailed determination of the different outputs and inputs of a basin for better water management. Determination of spatial and temporal actual evapotranspiration (ETa), in this regard, is of vital importance as there is significant water loss from drainage basins. This research paper uses the Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL), as well as the water balance, to estimate the spatial and temporal ETa in the Al-Khazir Gomal Basin, Northern Iraq. To compensate for the shortage in rainfall, and to irrigate summer crops, farmers in this basin have been depending, to a large extent, on groundwater extracted from the underlying unconfined aquifer, which is considered the major source for both domestic and agricultural uses in this basin. Rainfed farming of wheat and barley is one of the most important activities in the basin in the winter season, while in the summer season, agricultural activity is limited to small rice fields and narrow strips of vegetable cultivation along the Al-Khazir River. The Landsat Thematic Mapper images (TM5) acquired on 21 November 2006, 9 March 2007, 5 May 2007, 21 July 2007, and 23 September 2007 were used, along with a digital elevation model (DEM) and ground-based meteorological data, measured within the area of interest. Estimation of seasonal ETa from periods between satellite overpasses was computed using the evaporative fraction (Ʌ). The water balance approach was utilized, using meteorological data and river hydrograph analysis, to estimate the ETa as the only missing input in the predefined water balance equation. The results of the two applied methods were comparable. SEBAL results were compared with the land use land cover (LULC) map. The river showed the highest ETa, as evaporation from the free-water surface. Rice fields, irrigated in the summer season, have a high ETa in the images, as these fields are immersed in water during June, July and August. Vegetated corridors along the riverside showed different ETa values, as they contain a mosaic of different crops in different stages of growth. Conglomerate and bare sandstone outcrops showed no ETa, with some exceptions in the mountainous area, where these outcrops are affected by perennial springs. The results indicate the applicability of SEBAL in the study area, and they could be used in further studies to estimate the water budget of the basin.
Abstract: Li sorption was studied on natural bentonite, kaolin and zeolite in batch experiments at variable Li and Na concentrations (0, 1.5, 15, 150, 750 mM LiCl and 0.01, 0.1, 1, 3, 5 M NaCl). The solid-to-solution ratio was 1:4 and pH ranged from 2 to 10. Maximum Li sorption was determined at 0.01 M NaCl and 750 mM LiCl concentration in solution. It was 3800 ± 380 ppm, 1300 ± 130 ppm and 3900 ± 390 ppm on bentonite, kaolin and zeolite, respectively, which is in the average to upper range typical for clay minerals. Under these conditions, kaolin was saturated with Li, whereas Li in bentonite and zeolite occupied only about 55%–79% and 9%–26% of the typical cation exchange capacity (CEC) of smectites and zeolites, respectively. This is explained by differences in the way Li is bound in the materials studied. Li sorption on bentonite was independent of pH due to strong pH buffering. Above pH 5, kaolin was transformed to gibbsite, which completely changed its Li sorption capabilities. Extremely low as well as extremely high pH destabilized the crystal lattice of zeolite. All in all it was shown that, under the studied conditions, Li sorption on the studied materials occurs in detectable quantities. So, clay minerals and zeolites can act as a sink for Li if Li concentrations in solution are sufficiently high.
Abstract: The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model is the most frequently used model for soil erosion risk estimation. Among the six input layers, the combined slope length and slope angle (LS-factor) has the greatest influence on soil loss at the European scale. The S-factor measures the effect of slope steepness, and the L-factor defines the impact of slope length. The combined LS-factor describes the effect of topography on soil erosion. The European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) developed a new pan-European high-resolution soil erosion assessment to achieve a better understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of soil erosion in Europe. The LS-calculation was performed using the original equation proposed by Desmet and Govers (1996) and implemented using the System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses (SAGA), which incorporates a multiple flow algorithm and contributes to a precise estimation of flow accumulation. The LS-factor dataset was calculated using a high-resolution (25 m) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the whole European Union, resulting in an improved delineation of areas at risk of soil erosion as compared to lower-resolution datasets. This combined approach of using GIS software tools with high-resolution DEMs has been successfully applied in regional assessments in the past, and is now being applied for first time at the European scale.
Abstract: Libyan Desert Glass (LDG) is a natural silica-rich melted rock found as pieces scattered over the sand and bedrock of the Western Desert of Egypt, northeast of the Gilf Kebir. In this work, a population mixture analysis serves to relate the present spatial distribution of LDG mass density with the Late Oligocene–Early Miocene fluvial dynamics in the Western Desert of Egypt. This was verified from a spatial distribution model that was predicted from the log-normal kriging method using the LDG–mass-dependent transformed variable, Y(x). Both low- and high-density normal populations (–9.2 < Y(x) < –3.5 and –3.8 < Y(x) < 2.1, respectively) were identified. The low-density population was the result of an ordinary fluvial LDG transport/deposition sequence that was active from the time of the melting process, and which lasted until the end of activity of the Gilf River. The surface distribution of the high-density population allowed us to restrict the source area of the melting process. We demonstrate the importance of this geostatistical study in unveiling the probable location of the point where the melting of surficial material occurred and the role of the Gilf River in the configuration of the observed strewn field.
Abstract: Exposure to uranium can damage kidneys, increase long term risks of various cancers, and cause developmental and reproductive effects. Historically, home well water in Montana has not been tested for uranium. Data for the Crow Reservation from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) database showed that water from 34 of 189 wells tested had uranium over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 30 μg/L for drinking water. Therefore the Crow Water Quality Project included uranium in its tests of home well water. Volunteers had their well water tested and completed a survey about their well water use. More than 2/3 of the 97 wells sampled had detectable uranium; 6.3% exceeded the MCL of 30 μg/L. Wells downgradient from the uranium-bearing formations in the mountains were at highest risk. About half of all Crow families rely on home wells; 80% of these families consume their well water. An explanation of test results; associated health risks and water treatment options were provided to participating homeowners. The project is a community-based participatory research initiative of Little Big Horn College; the Crow Tribe; the Apsaalooke Water and Wastewater Authority; the local Indian Health Service Hospital and other local stakeholders; with support from academic partners at Montana State University (MSU) Bozeman.