Distribution of rare earth elements in marine sediments from the Strait of Sicily (western Mediterranean Sea): Evidence of phosphogypsum waste contamination

G. Tranchida, E. Oliveri, M. Angelone, A. Bellanca, P. Censi, M. D'Elia, R. Neri, F. Placenti, M. Sprovieri, S. Mazzola

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Concentrations of rare earth elements (REE), Y, Th and Sc were recently determined in marine sediments collected using a box corer along two onshore-offshore transects located in the Strait of Sicily (Mediterranean Sea). The REE+Y were enriched in offshore fine-grained sediments where clay minerals are abundant, whereas the REE+Y contents were lower in onshore coarse-grained sediments with high carbonate fractions. Considering this distribution trend, the onshore sediments in front of the southwestern Sicilian coast represent an anomaly with high REE+Y concentrations (mean value 163.4μgg-1) associated to high Th concentrations (mean value 7.9μgg-1). Plot of shale-normalized REE+Y data of these coastal sediments showed Middle REE enrichments relative to Light REE and Heavy REE, manifested by a convexity around Sm-Gd-Eu elements. These anomalies in the fractionation patterns of the coastal sediments were attributed to phosphogypsum-contaminated effluents from an industrial plant, located in the southern Sicilian coast. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182 - 191
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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