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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2011, Article ID 237071, 20 pages
Research Article

Trace Element Concentration and Speciation in Selected Mining-Contaminated Soils and Water in Willow Creek Floodplain, Colorado

1United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, NE 68508, USA
2USDA-NRCS, Gainesville, FL 32606-6677, USA
3USDA-NRCS, Denver, CO 80225-0426, USA
4USDA-NRCS, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA

Received 26 May 2011; Accepted 16 August 2011

Academic Editor: Yongchao Liang

Copyright © 2011 R. Burt et al. 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.


Long-term mining activities in the mountains around Creede, Colorado have resulted in significant contamination in soils and water in the Willow Creek floodplain. Total major and trace were determined for soils and water and sequential chemical extraction for soils. Objectives were to determine concentrations and potential reactivity of trace elements and investigate their relationship with other soil and water properties. Water trace elements showed significant variability among sites, ranging from 347 to 12108 μg/L. Relative trend showed (Zn > Sr > Ba) > (Mn > W > Cd) > (Sn > V Ni Cu > Co) > (Ag). Soil trace elements showed significant short-range spatial variability, ranging from 2819 to 19274 mg/kg. Relative trend showed (Pb Zn > Mn > Ba > P) > (As > Cu > Sr > V > Cd > Sb Ag) > (Co Cr > Mo Sn Ni) > (Be W > Se Hg). Predominant fractions were oxide, specifically-sorbed/carbonate bound, and residual. Water soluble and exchangeable fractions showed (Zn Cd) > Pb and Cd > Zn > Pb, respectively. Mobility factors for highly contaminated soils showed Cd Zn > Pb > Cu > As.