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Maps of the distribution of trace elements in Malan Loess from the middle reaches of the Huang He, China


, : Maps of the distribution of trace elements in Malan Loess from the middle reaches of the Huang He, China. Diqiu Huaxue = Geochimica 1986(4): 364-374

About 340 samples of the Malan Loess (and related sediments) were collected from 55 localities in the middle reaches of the Yellow River and were analyzed for six trace elements -- Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, Ni and Mo -- by atomic absorption spectrophotometry and polarography. Results show that Zn, Cu, Mn and Ni content is lower than their average values in the crust, and close to or slightly higher than their abundance in soils. Co content is higher than its average value in soils, and close to its crustal abundance. Mo content is the lowest. Maps of trace element distribution in the Malan Loess were drawn. Based on the content ranges and analytical errors of each element, coupled with the geological background of loess, five classes (for Zn, Cu, Co, Ni) and four classes (for Mn, Mo) of contents were expressed separately, and they were examined on histograms of frequency classes. From the maps of their distribution patterns it can be seen clearly that the trace elements all increase progressively in a direction from northwest to southeast, showing a belt-like distribution. It is interesting that the zonation of trace elements is consistent with that of granulometric compositions of the Malan Loess (sandy loess-loess-clayey loess from northwest to southeast). Furthermore, the samples with the lowest values lie at the transitional zone between loess and desert; the samples with the highest values are located in the transition area between secondary loess and loess in the Weihe Valley. Evidently, the distribution of trace elements in the Malan Loess is controlled by granulometric composition, which is probably related to mineral composition and bioclimatic conditions during the deposition of loess. These maps are of great significance in evaluating the use of loess for agricultural purposes and its influence on human health.

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