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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 685834, 7 pages
Research Article

Characteristics of Heavy Metals and Pb Isotopic Composition in Sediments Collected from the Tributaries in Three Gorges Reservoir, China

1Department of Water Environment, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
2State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
3College of Horticulture, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, China

Received 27 August 2013; Accepted 19 October 2013; Published 28 January 2014

Academic Editors: J. Lutzenkirchen and G. Sen

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.


The concentrations, distribution, accumulation, and potential ecological risk of heavy metals (Cr, Cu, Zn, Ni, As, Pb, Cd, and Hg) in sediments from the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) tributaries were determined and studied. Pb isotopic compositions in sediments were also measured to effectively identify the potential Pb sources. The results showed that the average concentrations of heavy metals in sediment of TGR tributaries were higher than the local background values of soils and sediments in China. The assessment by Geoaccumulation Index indicated that Cu, Ni, and Hg were at the “slightly polluted” level and Cd was ranked as the “moderately polluted” level in tributary sediments of TGR. The assessment by Potential Ecological Risk Index showed that Hg and Cd were the predominant elements in tributary sediments in TGR. The Pb isotopic ratios in sediments varied from 1.171 to 1.202 for 206Pb/207Pb and from 2.459 to 2.482 for 208Pb/207Pb in TGR. All Pb isotopic ratios in sediments were similar to those from coal combustion, lead ores (the mining activities and smelting process), and cement material, indicating that these anthropogenic inputs may be the main sources for Pb pollution in sediments of TGR tributaries.