Journal of Oceanology and Limnology

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 700–716 | Cite as

Seasonal and spatial variations in rare earth elements and yttrium of dissolved load in the middle, lower reaches and estuary of the Minjiang River, southeastern China

  • Xuxu Zhu (朱旭旭)
  • Aiguo Gao (高爱国)Email author
  • Jianjie Lin (林建杰)
  • Xing Jian (简星)
  • Yufeng Yang (杨玉峰)
  • Yanpo Zhang (张延颇)
  • Yuting Hou (侯昱廷)
  • Songbai Gong (龚松柏)


With the aim of elucidating the spatial and seasonal behaviors of rare earth elements (REEs), we investigated the dissolved REE concentrations of surface water collected during four seasons from middle, lower reaches and estuary of the Minjiang River, southeastern China. The results display that the REE abundances in Minjiang River, ranging from 3.3–785.9 ng/L, were higher than those of many of the major global rivers. The total REE concentrations (ΣREE) were seasonally variable, averaging in 5 937.30, 863.79, 825.65 and 1 065.75 ng/L during second highest flow (SHF), normal flow (NF), low flow (LF) and high flow (HF) season, respectively. The R(L/M) and R(H/M) ratios reveal the spatial and temporal variations of REE patterns, and particularly vary apparently in the maximum turbidity zone and estuary. REE patterns of dissolved loads are characterized by progressing weaker LREEs-enrichment and stronger HREEsenrichment downstream from middle reaches to estuary during all four seasons. Comparing with NF and LF seasons, in which REE patterns are relatively flat, samples of SHF season have more LREE-enriched and HREE-depleted patterns that close to parent rocks, while samples of HF season are more LREEs-depleted and HREE-enriched. REE fractionations from the middle to lower reaches are stronger in the SHF and HF seasons than those in NF and LF seasons. Generally, spatial and seasonal variations in REE abundance and pattern are presumably due to several factors, such as chemical weathering, mixture with rainfall and groundwater, estuarine mixing, runoff, biological production and mountain river characters, such as strong hydrodynamic forces and steep slopes. The highest Gd/Gd * always occurs at north ports during all four seasons, where most of the large hospitals are located. This suggests Gd anomalies are depended on the density of modern medical facilities. Y/Ho ratios fluctuate and positively correlate to salinity in estuary, probably because of the geochemical behavior differences between Y and Ho.


rare earth elements (REEs) Minjiang River estuarine mixing process dissolved load online pre-concentration system 


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We thank Engineer WU Wenxi and WANG Danhong in the Key Laboratory of Inspection and Quarantine Technique in Fujian Province, China, for their help in the REE measurements.


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Copyright information

© Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xuxu Zhu (朱旭旭)
    • 1
  • Aiguo Gao (高爱国)
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jianjie Lin (林建杰)
    • 3
  • Xing Jian (简星)
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yufeng Yang (杨玉峰)
    • 1
  • Yanpo Zhang (张延颇)
    • 1
  • Yuting Hou (侯昱廷)
    • 1
  • Songbai Gong (龚松柏)
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Ocean and Earth SciencesXiamen UniversityXiamenChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental SciencesXiamenChina
  3. 3.Marine and Fisheries Technology Center of FuzhouFuzhouChina

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