Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp 651–669 | Cite as

Geochemical investigation of selected elements in coastal and riverine sediments from Ube, Kasado, and Suo-Oshima Bays in the western Seto Inland Sea, Southwest Japan

  • M. Azadur Rahman
  • Hiroaki Ishiga
Original Article


This paper presents the geochemical study of sediments along Ube, Suo-Oshima, and Kasado Bays in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. We examined the distribution and abundances of 13 elements (As, Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, Cr, Sr, Ca, Fe, Ti, P, Mn, and total S) in 40 coastal and river sediment samples, to evaluate the factors controlling their abundances, possible sources, and environmental implications. Average concentrations of As, Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, and Cr at Ube were 12, 26, 86, 16, 43, and 92 mg/kg, 6, 25, 31, 8, 9, and 29 mg/kg at Kasado, and 5, 20, 28, 3, 5, and 18 mg/kg at Suo-Oshima, respectively. Average As, Pb, Zn, and Cr concentrations at Ube were comparable or enriched relative to those of the upper continental crust and Japan upper crust, whereas most major elements, Cu, and Ni were depleted at Kasado and Suo-Oshima. Enrichment factor values show low to moderate enrichment of Zn, Ni, and Cr, whereas As and Pb show significant contamination at some sites, suggesting contributions from anthropogenic sources. Anthropogenic contributions of most metals mainly originate from natural processes; however, As and Pb ranges of 73–79 and 66–81 %, respectively, confirm their anthropogenic contribution. Factor analysis and correlation matrices suggest that elevated metal concentrations at Ube, especially in samples located in the river basin, may be controlled by Fe–Mn oxy-hydroxides. Deposition of metals at Kasado and Suo-Oshima might be controlled by non-ferrous metal (i.e., aluminosilicates), sediment grain size, or source rock composition (granite and gneiss).


Trace metals Bay sediments Metals source Anthropogenic activities Sediment quality guidelines Enrichment factor Southwest Japan 



We thank Professor Yoshihiro Sawada of Shimane University for access to the XRF facilities and Yuya Shimizu and Erika Sano of Shimane University for their help with sampling. Dr. Barry Roser of Shimane University is acknowledged for critical comments on the manuscript.


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© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geoscience, Graduate School of Science and EngineeringShimane UniversityMatsueJapan

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