Accumulation, sources and pollution of heavy metals in the sediments of coastal tidal flats in the North Jiangsu Radial Sand Ridges, China

  • Kun Meng
  • Min XuEmail author
  • Yifei Zhao
  • Fei Li
  • Wenjian Xu
  • Ye ChenEmail author
Original Article


In 2014, three sediment cores were collected from the northern [Xinyanggang (XYG)], middle [Chuandonggang (CDG)], and southern [Xiaoyangkou (XYK)] parts of the coastal tidal flats of the North Jiangsu radial sand ridges (NJRSR), East China. The grain size and contents of heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Cr, Ni, Pb and As) in the cores were detected. The features of sediments and the accumulation of heavy metals were also investigated. Multivariate analyses (principal component analysis and correlation analysis) were applied to identify the sources of heavy metals. The enrichment factors (EF) were calculated to estimate the level of contamination stored in these sediments. The results showed that the vertical variations in the contents of heavy metals were compatible with the sedimentary features. The grain size in core XYG became coarser around the 1980s and the contents of heavy metals began to decrease. The grain size in core CDG was suddenly refined around the 1960s and the contents of heavy metals suddenly decreased. The grain size in core XYK coarsened initially before becoming finer and the contents of heavy metals were basically stable. The contents of heavy metals of the NJRSR coastal tidal flat were subject to the sedimentary parent materials of the abandoned Yellow River Delta and the offshore radial sand ridges. Several heavy metals were disturbed by anthropogenic activities after the middle and late 1980s. The content of Cr in core XYG was mainly from industries. The contents of Pb and Zn in core CDG were from agricultural, urban and industrial sources. Cu and As in XYK were from agricultural and industrial sources. The environment of sediments in the study area was generally good, but was polluted by individual elements after industrialisation. Cr in core XYG was moderately and significantly polluting, Pb and Zn in core CDG were lightly polluting, Cu was moderately and significantly polluting, and As was lightly polluting in core XYK.


Sediment cores Heavy metals Source analysis Pollution Radial sand ridges, Jiangsu Province, China 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41373112).

Supplementary material

12665_2019_8125_MOESM1_ESM.doc (5.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 5695 KB)
12665_2019_8125_MOESM2_ESM.caj (8.3 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (CAJ 8516 KB)
12665_2019_8125_MOESM3_ESM.exe (60.9 mb)
Supplementary material 3 (EXE 62314 KB)


  1. Bárcena JF, Claramunt I, García-Alba J (2017) A method to assess the evolution and recovery of heavy metal pollution in estuarine sediments: past history, present situation and future perspectives. Mar Pollut Bull 124(1):421–434. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barringer JL, Bonin JL, Deluca MJ et al (2007) Sources and temporal dynamics of arsenic in a New Jersey watershed, USA. Sci Total Environ 379(1):56–74. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bolan N, Adriano D, Mahimairaja S (2004) Distribution and bioavailability of trace elements in livestock and poultry manure by-products. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 34(3):291–338. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chang IS, Kim BH (2007) Effect of sulfate reduction activity on biological treatment of hexavalent chromium [Cr (VI)] contaminated electroplating wastewater under sulfate-rich condition. Chemosphere 68(2):218–226. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen HM, Zheng CR, Tu C et al (1999) Heavy metal pollution in soils in China: status and countermeasures. Ambio 28(2):130–134Google Scholar
  6. Chen J, Wang YG, Zhang RS (2007) Stability study on the Dongsha sandbanks in submarine radial sand ridges field off Jiangsu coast. The Ocean Engineering 25(1):105–113. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen KF, Lu PD, Wang YH (2009) Effects of coastline changes on tide system of Yellow Sea off Jiangsu coast, China. China Ocean Engineering 23(4):741–750. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen J, Wang YG, Cai H (2010a) Profile characteristics study of the Jiangsu coastal area. Ocean Eng 28(04):90–96. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen KF, Lu PD, Wang YH (2010b) Hydrodynamic mechanism of evolvement trends in radial sandbank of South Yellow Sea. Adv Water Sci 21(2):267–273. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen KF, Wang YH, Lu PD (2013) Research on the abandoned Huanghe River Delta erosion process and impaction tidal current dynamic characteristic of the Huanghai Sea off the coast of North Jiangsu, China. Ac Oceano Sin 35(3):189–196. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen B, Wang YG, Huang HM (2015) Feature analysis of whole suspended sediment transport on radial sand ridges of South Yellow Sea. Mar Sci Bull 34(3):310–315. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen KF, Zheng JH, Zhang C (2017) The evolution characteristics of main waterways and their control mechanism in the radial sand ridges of the southern Yellow Sea. Ac Oceano Sin 36(3):91–98. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chester R, Stoner JH (1973) Pb in particulates from the lower atmosphere of the Eastern Atlantic. Nature 245(5419):27–28. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cobelogarcía A, Prego R (2003) Heavy metal sedimentary record in a Galician Ria (NW Spain): background values and recent contamination. Mar Pollut Bull 46(10):1253–1262. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fatoba PO, Ogunkunle COO, Folarin OO (2016) Heavy metal pollution and ecological geochemistry of soil impacted by activities of oil industry in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Environ Earth Sci 75(4):1–9. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gao YY (2011) Modern sedimentation rates and pollution of heavy metals at the estuary of the Sheyang River. Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  17. Gao S, Zhu DK (1988) The profile of Jiangsu’s mud coast. J Nanjing Univ (Nat Sci Ed) 24(1):75–84Google Scholar
  18. Gąsiorek M, Kowalska J, Mazurek R (2017) Comprehensive assessment of heavy metal pollution in topsoil of historical urban park on an example of the Planty Park in Krakow (Poland). Chemosphere 179:148–158. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ge F, Cao D, Li D (1997) The ecological risk analysis of pesticide use and its reduction strategies in China. China Plant Grotection 17(2):35–37Google Scholar
  20. Han YM, Du PX, Cao JJ et al (2006) Multivariate analysis of heavy metal contamination in urban dusts of Xi’an, Central China. Sci Total Environ 355(1–3):176–186. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harikrishnan N, Ravisankar R, Chandrasekaran A et al (2017) Assessment of heavy metal contamination in marine sediments of east coast of Tamil Nadu affected by different pollution sources. Mar Pollut Bull 121(1–2):418–424. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Irabien MJ, Velasco F (1999) Heavy metals in Oka River sediments (Urdaibai National Biosphere Reserve, northern Spain): Lithogenic and anthropogenic effects. Environ Geol 37(1–2):54–63. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jahan S, Strezov V (2018) Comparison of pollution indices for the assessment of heavy metals in the sediments of seaports of NSW, Australia. Mar Pollut Bull 128:295–306. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li Y, Li HG (2017) Historical records of trace metals in core sediments from the Lianyungang coastal sea, Jiangsu, China. Mar Pollut Bull 116(1–2):56–63. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li CX, Zhang QJ, Fan DD et al (2001) Holocene regression and the tidal radial sand ridge system formation in the Jiangsu coastal zone, east China. Mar Geol 173(1–4):97–120. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li MJ, Liu ZW, Chen YC et al (2016a) Characteristics of iron corrosion scales and water quality variations in drinking water distribution systems of different pipe materials. Water Res 106:593–603. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Li ML, Yang L, Gong XL (2016b) The geomorphologic response of accreting intertidal flat to reclamation: a case from Jianggang, Jiangsu. Mar Sci Bull 35(6):683–693:. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liu YL, Wang YP, Wu XB (2011) Mechanism of water and suspended sediment transport in the Xiyang channel along the southwestern Yellow Sea coast. Mar Sci 35(11):120–127. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Liu ZY, Pan SM, Sun ZY (2015) Heavy metal spatial variability and historical changes in the Yangtze River estuary and North Jiangsu tidal flat. Mar Pollut Bull 98(1–2):115–129. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lv JS (2015) The environmental geochemistry of heavy metal in soils and sediments in typical regions of Jiangsu coastal zone, Eastern China. Nanjing University, Nanjing, pp 112–113 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  31. Lv JS, Liu Y, Zhang ZL et al (2015) Identifying the origins and spatial distributions of heavy metals in soils of Ju country (Eastern China) using multivariate and geostatistical approach. J Soils Sediments 15(1):163–178. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Marine pollution baseline survey team of Jiangsu province (2001) Marine pollution baseline survey report of Jiangsu Province. Nanjing, China. Hehai University Press, China (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  33. Meng K (2018) Study on modern sedimentary characteristics and temporal and spatial distribution of heavy metals in the sediments of coastal tidal flats in the north Jiangsu radial sand ridges. Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  34. National Bureau of Statistics of China (1989) Summary of rural economic statistics by county in China. China Statistics Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  35. National Bureau of Statistics of China (1992–2011) Statistical bulletin of national economic and social development of China (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  36. National Bureau of Statistics of China (1999) China statistical yearbook. China Statistical Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  37. Nethaji S, Kalaivanan R, Viswam A et al (2017) Geochemical assessment of heavy metals pollution in surface sediments of Vellar and Coleroon estuaries, southeast coast of India. Mar Pollut Bull 115(1–2):469–479. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nguyen TT, Zhang WG, Li Z et al (2016) Assessment of heavy metal pollution in Red River surface sediments, Vietnam. Mar Pollut Bull 113(1–2):513–519. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nicholson FA, Chambers BJ, Williams JR et al (1999) Heavy metal contents of livestock feeds and animal manures in England and Wales. Bioresour Technol 70(1):23–31. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ouki SK, Neufeld RD (1997) Use of activated carbon for the recovery of chromium from the industrial wastewater. J Chem Tech Biotechnol 70(1):3–8. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Peerzada N, Rohoza W (1989) Some heavy metals in sediments from Darwin Harbour, Australia. Mar Pollut Bull 20(2):91–92. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rao WB, Mao CP, Wang YG et al (2015) Geochemical constraints on the provenance of surface sediments of radial sand ridges off the Jiangsu coastal zone, East China. Mar Geol 359(4):35–49. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ren SR, Shao YC, Wang ZX (2005) Analyze on heavy metals content of merchandise compost produced by animal wastes. J Agro-environmental Sci 24:216–318. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rumpa S, Rumki N, Bidyut S (2011) Sources and toxicity of hexavalent chromium. J Coord Chem 64(10):1782–1806. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shafie NA, Aris AZ, Zakaria MP et al (2013) Application of geoaccumulation index and enrichment factors on the assessment of heavy metal pollution in the sediments. J Environ Sci Health Part A 48(2):182–190. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sindern S, Tremöhlen M, Dsikowitzky L et al (2016) Heavy metals in river and coast sediments of the Jakarta Bay region (Indonesia)-Geogenic versus anthropogenic sources. Mar Pollut Bull 110(2):624–633. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Song H, Liu J, Yin P (2017) Distribution, enrichment and source of heavy metals in Rizhao offshore area, southeast Shandong Province. Mar Pollut Bull 119(2):175–180. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Soto-Jiménez MF, Páez-Osuna F (2001) Distribution and normalization of heavy metal concentrations in mangrove and lagoonal sediments from Mazatlán harbor (Se gulf of California). Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 53(3):259–274. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sreekanth A, Mrudulrag SK, Cheriyan E et al (2015) Trace metal enrichment and organic matter sources in the surface sediments of Arabian Sea along southwest India (Kerala coast). Mar Pollut Bull 101(2):938–948. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Summers JK, Wade TL, Engle VD et al (1996) Normalization of metal concentrations in estuarine sediments from the Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries 19(3):581–594. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sutherland RA (2000) Bed sediment-associated trace metals in an urban stream, Oahu, Hawaii. Environ Geol 39(6):611–627. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wang YH (2006) Variations and overall protection of the abandoned yellow river delta in the coastal erosion process [doctoral dissertation].Nanjing: Nanjing Normal University;40p(in Chinese)Google Scholar
  53. Wang R, Zhang YZ, Xia F (2012a) Grain size distribution and transportation treads of bottom sediments in the sand ridge field of the south Yellow sea, China. Marine Geology Quaternary Geology 32(6):1–8. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wang YP, Gao S, Jia JJ (2012b) Sediment transport over an accretional intertidal flat with influences of reclamation, Jiangsu coast, China. Mar Geo291: 147–161.
  55. Wang WH, Gao S, Xu YP (2014) Numerical experiments for the characteristic deposition rates over the tidal flat, central Jiangsu coast. Nanjing: Journal of Nanjing University 50:656–664.
  56. Wang J, Liu GJ, Lu LL et al (2015) Geochemical normalization and assessment of heavy metals (Cu, Pb, Zn, and Ni) in sediments from the Huaihe River, Anhui, China. Catena 129:30–38. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wang AJ, Bong CW, Xu YH et al (2017a) Assessment of heavy metal pollution in surficial sediments from a tropical river-estuary-shelf system: A case study of Kelantan River, Malaysia. Mar Pollut Bull 125(1–2):492–500. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wang Y, Ling M, Liu RH et al (2017b) Distribution and source identification of trace metals in the sediment of Yellow River Estuary and the adjacent Laizhou Bay. Physics Chemistry of the Earth Parts A/B/C 97:62–70. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wei GJ, Liu Y, Li XH (2008) Climatic impact on Al, K, Sc and Ti in marine sediments: Evidence from ODP Site 1144, South China Sea. Geochem J 37(5):593–602. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wu GH, Shang JM, Pan L (2014) Heavy metals in surface sediments from nine estuaries along the coast of Bohai Bay, Northern China. Mar Pollut Bull 82(1–2):194–200. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wu SS, Yang H, Guo F (2017) Spatial patterns and origins of heavy metals in Sheyang River catchment in Jiangsu, China based on geographically weighted regression. Sci Total Environ 580:1518–1529. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Xing F, Wang YP, Wang HV (2012) Tidal hydrodynamics and fine-grained sediment transport on the radial sand ridge system in the southern Yellow Sea. Mar Geol 291–294:192–210. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Xu M, Li PY, Lu PD (2012) Research on appropriate reclamation scale of prograding tidal flat: A case study of Jiangsu Province. Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  64. Xu G, Liu J, Pei SF (2014) Distribution and source of heavy metals in the surface sediments from the near-shore area, north Jiangsu Province, China. Mar Pollut Bull 83(1):275–284. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Xu FJ, Hu BQ, Yuan SQ (2018) Heavy metals in surface sediments of the continental shelf of the South Yellow Sea and East China Sea: sources, distribution and contamination. Catena 160:194–200. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. You KY, WangY WXY (1998) Foraminiferal distribution and its indications of sedimentation environment in the bottom sediments of radial submarine sand ridges along North Jiangsu. Journal of Nanjing University (Natural Sciences) 34(6):650–654. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yu WJ, Zou XQ, Zhu DK (2007) Accumulation characteristics of heavy metal Pb, Cu, Zn in Wanggang tidal flat based on Renyi theory. Acta Ecol Sin 27(8):3162–3171. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zhang Y (1990) A study of characteristics and sources of clay minerals of sediments in coastal areas of Jiangsu Province. Mar Sci 04:34–42Google Scholar
  69. Zhang L (2016) The coastal erosion—deposition evolution and controlling factors of the abandoned Yellow River delta in northern Jiangsu Province. East China Normal University, Shanghai (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  70. Zhang RS, Chen CJ (1992) Study on evolution of sandbars off Jiangsu coast and prospects of land consolidation with Tiaozini. Ocean press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  71. Zhang L, Chen S (2012) Spatial and temporal variation in sediment distribution in the abandoned Yellow River delta of north Jiangsu. Marine Geology Quaternary Geology 32(3):11–19. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zhang J, Liu C (2002) Riverine composition and estuarine geochemistry of particulate metals in China weathering features, anthropogenic impact and chemical fluxes. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 54:1051–1070. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zhang WG, Ma HL, Ye LP (2012) Magnetic and geochemical evidence of Yellow and Yangtze River influence on tidal flat deposits in northern Jiangsu Plain, China. Mar Geol 319–322(2):47–56. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Zhang R, Zhou L, Zhang F et al (2013) Heavy metal pollution and assessment in the tidal flat sediments of Haizhou Bay, China. Mar Pollut Bull 74(1):403–412. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zhang L, Chen SL, Liu XX (2014) Evolution of the abandoned Huanghe River delta in north Jiangsu Province in 800 years. Oceanlogia et Limnologia Sinica 45(3):626–636. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Zhang L, Chen SL, Yi L (2016) The sediment source and transport trends around the abandoned Yellow River Delta, China. Mar Georesour Geotechnol 34(5):440–449. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Zhou LY, Liu J, Saito Y et al (2014) Coastal erosion as a major sediment supplier to continental shelves: example from the abandoned Old Huanghe (Yellow River) delta. Cont Shelf Res 82(3):43–59. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Zhou Z, Coco G, Mick VDW et al (2015) Modeling sorting dynamics of cohesive and non-cohesive sediments on intertidal flats under the effect of tides and wind waves. Con Shelf Res 104:76–91. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zhu QG, Feng ZX, Xu X (2014) Evolution of tidal flat profiles under the influence of land reclamation in Jiangsu Province. Marine Geology Quaternary Geology 34(3):21–29. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Zhu L, Liu JW, Xu SG et al (2017) Deposition behavior, risk assessment and source identification of heavy metals in reservoir sediments of Northeast China. Ecotoxicol Environ Safety 142:454–463. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of GeographyNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Marine Science and EngineeringNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Jiangsu Yunfan Testing Technology Co., Ltd.NanjingChina

Personalised recommendations