Document Type: Case Study


Department of Geology, Mashhad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran


The aim of this study was to determine the extent of metal pollutions and the identification of their major sources in the vicinity of the Sangan iron mine occurring in NE Iran. Soil samples were collected from the vicinity of the mine site and analyzed for heavy metals. In addition, the chemical speciation of these metals was investigated by means of the sequential extraction procedure. The statistical and spatial variability of the metal concentrations and other soil parameters were also analyzed by the multivariate statistical methods (principal component analysis and cluster analysis). Contaminant Factor (CF) and Enrichment Factor (EF) were used to evaluate soil pollution in the samples. By this study, one can conclude that a notable enrichment of heavy metals happened in the margin of the mining area. The data obtained reveal that soils in the area are contaminated, showing higher levels of Fe, Sn, Co, Cu, Sb, S, and Cd in comparison with their normal distributions. The results of sequential extraction analysis and multivariate (geo)statistical methods show that the variability of Fe, Sn, Co, Cu, Sb, S, and Cd is predominately controlled by the anthropogenic source (mining activity), whereas Pb, Cr, and Zn are mainly of natural (geogenic) origin.