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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 170639, 7 pages
Research Article

Pollution Characteristics and Possible Sources of Seldom Monitored Trace Elements in Surface Sediments Collected from Three Gorges Reservoir, China

1State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
2Department of Water Environment, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
3State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Received 25 April 2014; Accepted 25 June 2014; Published 17 July 2014

Academic Editor: Georgiy B. Shul’pin

Copyright © 2014 Bo Gao 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.


A geochemical study of Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) sediments was carried out to analyze the concentrations, distribution, accumulation, and potential sources of the seldom monitored trace elements (SMTEs). The mean concentrations of Li, B, Be, Bi, V, Co, Ga, Sn, Sb, and Tl were 47.08, 2.47, 59.15, 0.50, 119.20, 17.83, 30.31, 3.25, 4.14, and 0.58 mg/kg, respectively. The concentrations of total SMTEs, together with their spatial distribution, showed that the SMTEs were mainly due to anthropogenic inputs in the region of TGR. The assessment by Geoaccumulation Index indicates that Tl, Be, V, Co, and Fe are at the unpolluted level; Bi, Li, Ga, and Sn were at the “uncontaminated to moderately contaminated” level. However, B was classified as “moderately contaminated” level and Sb was ranked as “strongly contaminated” level. The pollution level of the SMTEs is Sb B Bi Li Ga Sn Tl Be V Co Fe. The results of Correlation Analysis and Principal Component Analysis indicated Be, V, Co, Ga, Sn, Tl, Bi, and Fe in sediments have a natural source. B and Li were positively correlated with each other and mainly attributed into similar anthropogenic input. In addition, Sb has less relationship with other SMTEs, indicating that Sb has another kind of anthropogenic source.