An intensive sampling of PM2.5 was conducted at a rural site (Gucheng) in the North China Plain from 22 October to 23 November 2016. A total of 25 elements (Al, Na, Cl, Mg, P, S, K, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Br, Sr, Cd, Ba, Pb, and Sb) from PM2.5 filter samples collected daily were measured using a wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. Cl, S, and K were the most abundant elements, with average concentrations of 2077.66 ng m−3 (range 118.88–4638.96 ng m−3), 1748.78 ng m−3 (range 276.67–4335.59 ng m−3), and 1287.07 ng m−3 (range 254.90–2748.63 ng m−3), respectively. Among noncrustal trace metal elements, the concentration of Zn was the highest, with an average of 397.74 ng m−3 (range 36.45–1602.96 ng m−3), followed by Sb and Pb, on average, of 299.20 ng m−3 and 184.52 ng m−3, respectively. The morphologies of PM2.5 samples were observed using scanning electron microscopy. The shape of the particles was predominantly spherical, chain-like, and irregular. Positive matrix factorization analysis revealed that soil dust, following by industry, secondary formation, vehicle emissions, biomass and waste burning, and coal combustion, were the main sources of PM2.5. The results of cluster, potential source contribution function, and concentration weighted trajectory analyses suggested that local emissions from Hebei Province, as well as regional transport from Beijing, Tianjin, Shandong, and Shanxi Province, and long-range transport from Inner Mongolia, were the main contributors to PM2.5 pollution.
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