Mineralogy, composition and heavy metals’ concentration, distribution and source identification of surface sediments from the saline Maharlou Lake (Fars Province, Iran)

  • Amir Karimian Torghabeh
  • Nuno PimentelEmail author
  • Ashkan Jahandari
  • Guangli Wang
Original Article


This study concerns the mineralogy, spatial distribution and sources of nine heavy metals in surface sediments of the Maharlou saline lake, close to the Shiraz metropolis in southern Iran. The sources for these sediments were studied by comparing the mineralogy and the distribution of heavy metals, using multivariate statistical analysis (correlation analysis and principal component analysis). The geochemical indices, including geo-accumulation index (Igeo), contamination factor (CF) and pollution load index (PLI), were used to assess the degree of heavy metal contamination in surface sediments. Sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) have also been applied to assess its toxicity. The XRD analysis shows that the main minerals of the surface sediments are aragonite, calcite, halite and quartz, with small amounts of montmorillonite, dolomite and sepiolite. The total heavy metal contents in surface sediments decrease in order of Sr > Ni > Cr > Zn > Cu > Co > Pb > As > Cd and the average concentrations of Sr, Ni and As exceeded more than 10, 5 and 3 times, respectively, by comparing with the normalized upper continental crust (UCC) values. The results of pollution indices (Igeo, CF and PLI) revealed that strontium (Sr), nickel (Ni) and arsenic (As) were significantly enriched in those sediments. Based on the sediment quality guidelines (SQGs), Ni would infrequently cause toxicity. Multivariate statistical analysis indicated that the Ni, Co and Cr came mainly from natural geological background sources, while Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn were derived from urban effluents (especially traffic emissions) and As originated from agriculture activities. Significant relationships of Sr with S, CaO and MgO in sediments suggest that Sr was derived from carbonate- and gypsum-bearing catchment source host rocks.


Maharlou Lake Sedimentology Mineralogy Pollution Heavy metals 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of SciencesShiraz UniversityShirazIran
  2. 2.Instituto Dom Luiz, Faculty of SciencesLisbon UniversityLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Department of GeologyShahid Bahonar University of KermanKermanIran
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Petroleum Resources and ProspectingChina University of PetroleumBeijingChina

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