The spatial complexity of floodplains is a function of several processes: hydrodynamics, flow direction, sediment transportation, and land use. Sediments can bind toxic elements, and as there are several pollution sources, the risk of heavy metal accumulation on the floodplains is high. We aimed to determine whether fluvial forms have a role in metal accumulations. Topsoil samples were taken from point bars and swales in the floodplain of the Tisza River, North-East Hungary. Soil properties and metal concentrations were determined, and correlation and hypothesis testing were applied. The results showed that fluvial forms are important drivers of horizontal metal patterns: there were significant differences (p
< 0.05) between point bars and swales regarding Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn. Vertical distribution also differed significantly by fluvial forms: swales had higher metal concentrations in all layers. General Linear Models had different results for macro and micro elements: macro element concentrations were determined by the organic matter, while for micro elements the clay content and the forms were significant explanatory variables. These findings are important for land managers and farmers because heavy metal concentration has a direct impact on living organisms, and the risk of bioaccumulation can be high on floodplains.
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