Chemosphere ( IF 5.778 ) Pub Date : 2020-09-14 , DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.128348 Fei Cao; Mei Meng; Bing Shan; Ruoyu Sun
The Wuda coalfield, Inner Mongolia, China, has been suffering from serious coal fire disaster for more than half a century. In the past decade, the central and local governments have carried out many fire-fighting projects to put out the coal fires, but coal fires still sporadically occur in the coalfield. Previous studies showed that coal fires could release large amounts of mercury (Hg) into the environment. Meanwhile, the rapid industrial development in recent years in Wuda area has also discharged a certain amount of Hg. Identification and quantification of the Hg emitted from coal fires and industrial sources is critical to formulate appropriate environmental policies. This study determined Hg isotope compositions in different types of coals from Wuda coal fire area and surface soils with different distances to the coal fire area, with an aim of anchoring the potential Hg sources in soils. The results showed that the coals had moderately negative δ202Hg (-2.02∼-1.21‰) and slightly negative Δ199Hg (-0.14∼0.00‰), while the soils generally had more positive δ202Hg (-1.97∼-0.26‰) and Δ199Hg (-0.07∼0.04‰) with distinct isotope ranges among different sampling sites. According to characteristic Hg isotope compositions of different sources, we concluded that the Hg in Wuda soils mainly sourced from cement plants and coal fires, and coal fires were still an important Hg contamination source in Wuda area.