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Total mercury in terrestrial systems (air-soil-plant-water) at the mining region of San Joaquín, Queretaro, Mexico
Sergio Martínez-Trinidad, Gilberto Hernández Silva, Martha Elena Ramírez Islas, Juventino Martínez Reyes, Gregorio Solorio Munguía, Sara Solís Valdez, Rocío García Martínez;
Geofísica Internacional 2013 52(1)
Resumen
Inglés Español
Deficient management of cinnabar mining left the San Joaquin region with high concentrations of mercury in its soils (2.4 - 4164 mg kg-1). Numerous cinnabar mines have contributed to the dispersion of mercury into agricultural (0.5 - 314 mg kg-1) and forest (0.2 - 69 mg kg-1) soils. Sediments are a natural means of transportation for mercury, causing its spreading, especially in areas near mine entrances (0.6 - 687 mg kg-1). The nearness of maize crops to mines favors mercury accumulation in the different plant structures, such as roots, stems, leaves, and grain (0.04 - 8.2 mg kg-1); these being related to mercury volatilization and accumulation in soils. Mercury vapor present in the settlements could indicate a constant volatilization from lands and soils (22 - 153 ng m-3). The mercury levels found in the soils, in maize grain, and in the air resulted greater than the standards reported by the Official Mexican Norm (NOM) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Mercury in rainwater is due mainly to the presence of suspended atmospheric particles, later deposited on the surface (1.5 - 339 μg l-1). Mercury dissolution was found in the drinking water (10 - 170 ng l-1), with concentrations below those established by the NOM and the WHO. The contamination existing in the San Joaquín region does not reach the levels of the world's greatest mercury producers: Almaden (Spain) and Idrija (Slovenia). It is, however, like that found in other important second degree world producers such as Guizhou (China). The population of San Joaquín, as well as its surrounding environment, are constantly exposed to mercury contamination, thus making a long term monitoring necessary to determine its effects, especially to people.

Palabras clave: Mercury, soils, sediments, mining tailings, maize, drinking water, rain, air, San Joaquin, Mexico.
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Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
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