Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1129–1150 | Cite as

A geochemical study of overbank sediments in an urban area (Madrid, Spain)

  • Paula Adánez Sanjuán
  • Juan F. Llamas Borrajo
  • Juan Locutura Rupérez
  • Angel García Cortés
Original Paper


Overbank and stream sediments have been studied in the Community of Madrid. Four vertical profiles have been sampled corresponding to Guadarrama, Jarama, and finally Manzanares River, where two profiles have been studied upstream (El Pardo profile) and downstream (Rivas profile) Madrid city. Sieved samples (<63 µm) were subjected to total (ICP-MS/ICP-OES and INAA) and partial analysis (ICP-MS). AMS radiocarbon dating techniques revealed a young age (170 ± 40 years BP) at 2.40–2.65 m depth for Rivas profile. It has not been possible to detect pristine or pre-industrial overbank sediments, since in the rest of the studied profiles, anthropogenic wastes were found even in the lower levels. Three main sources of sediment have been detected in the area. Granitic and arkosic geology, located in the northern part of Madrid (U, Th, W, K, Na, or rare earth elements); clays located in the southeast of Madrid (Ni, Cr, or V), and finally an anthropogenic source has been identified (Au, Ag, Pb, Zn, or Sb) in Rivas profile. The influence of the anthropogenic activity has been established based on the contents distribution of contaminant elements in the profile. This can be associated to the growth of industrial activities and population in the city of Madrid during the last decades. The comparison of the profiles by a k-means cluster analysis showed some similarities for these samples that could have analogous sources (anthropogenic and geological).


Overbank sediments Geochemistry Trace elements Madrid 



This work has been financed by a Geological Survey of Spain (IGME) pre-doctoral fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Adánez Sanjuán
    • 1
  • Juan F. Llamas Borrajo
    • 2
  • Juan Locutura Rupérez
    • 1
  • Angel García Cortés
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME)MadridSpain
  2. 2.E.T.S.I. Minas MadridMadridSpain

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