Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 121, Issue 1–3, pp 77–102 | Cite as

Metal Fractionation Studies in Surfacial and Core Sediments in the Achankovil River Basin in India

  • M. Bala Krishna Prasad
  • A. L. Ramanathan
  • Sunil Kr. Shrivastav
  • Anshumali
  • Rajinder Saxena


The Fractionation of Fe, Zn, Cu, Pb, Mn and Cd in the sediments of the Achankovil River, Western Ghats, India using a sequential extraction method was carried out to understand the metal availability in the basin for biotic and abiotic activities. Spatial distribution of heavy metals has been studied. Sediment grain size has significant control over the heavy metal distribution. The fluctuations in their concentration partly depend upon the lithology of the river basin and partly the anthropogenic activities. The sediments are dominated by sand and are moderately to strongly positively skewed and are very leptokurtotic in nature. The quartzite and feldspars are abundant minerals along with significant amount of mica with low clay content. The core sediments show increasing trend of heavy metal concentration with depth due to the recent addition of anthropogenic sources and post-diagenic activities. Significant amount of Cd (18%) was found in carbonate fraction, which may pose environmental problems due to its toxic nature. Small concentrations of metals, except Cd and Cu, are in exchangeable fraction, which indicate low bio-availability. Enrichment Factor (EF) for individual metals shows the contribution from terrregious and in part from anthropogenic sources. Selective Sequential Extraction (SSE) study shows the variation in specific metal distribution pattern, their distribution in different phases and their bio-availability. Maximum amount of the metals were bound to the non-residual fractions (mainly Fe-oxides). Overall, bio-availability of these micronutrients from sediments seems to be very less. Non-residual phase is the most important phase for majority of heavy metals studied. Among the non-residual fraction, maximum amount of the heavy metals bound to Fe-oxides. The study high lights the need for in-depth study of heavy metals distribution and fractionation in the smaller river basins to get precise information on the behavior and transport of heavy metals in the fluvial environment and their contribution to the world ocean.


heavy metals Achankovil River selective sequential extraction enrichment factor anthropogenic factor 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Bala Krishna Prasad
    • 1
  • A. L. Ramanathan
    • 1
  • Sunil Kr. Shrivastav
    • 1
  • Anshumali
    • 1
  • Rajinder Saxena
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Earth ScienceUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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