Spatial distribution of stream sediment pollution by toxic trace elements at Tourtit and Ichoumellal abandoned mining areas (central Morocco)

  • Chaïma Ahmedat
  • Sanaa Dabi
  • Mohamed Zahraoui
  • Iz-Eddine El Amrani El Hassani
Original Paper


This study presents a diagnostic of the current state of 114 stream sediment samples by their elemental concentrations (Sb, Cd, Pb, As, Cu, Zn, Ni, Cr, and Hg), collected from Ighardayane upstream on an area of 15 km2 located at the SE part of central Morocco where Tourtit and Ichoumellal, two abandoned mining sites of Stibnite, are located. Several approaches were used to model the analysis (i) enrichment factor (EF), (ii) sediment pollution index (IPS), (iii) probable effect concentration-quotients (PEC-Qs), and (iv) potential ecological risk index (PERI). Results show highly contaminated areas around the old mining sites by Sb As, Pb, and Cd. Cadmium and lead show 86.9 and 12.29% (respectively) of trace element pollution according to sediment pollution index. Twenty-eight percent of the sampled area is potentially highly toxic because of the presence of Hg, Pb, and Cd. The very similar distribution of pollution and toxicity of most analyzed trace elements may originate from the same source, which corresponds to mining wastes where we recorded the highest pollution and toxicity degrees. This environmental issue represents the combination of Tourtit and Ichoumellal anthropic sources responsible of Sb, As, Pb, and Cd release and a probable natural source of Hg “that needs a further study,” which contribute in the degradation of an aquatic ecosystem of the same area. Therefore, both ecotoxicological analysis and stream sediment quality management should be carried out to control this aquatic ecosystem toxication.


Contamination and toxicity Pollution Stream sediments Stibine Mercury Abandoned mining area 



The authors of this article would like to thank Professor Michel Jébrak at the Department of Geology/Faculty of Sciences, Quebec University, Montréal, and Dr. Giovanna Armiento, ENEA Laboratory Ahead, Environmental Biochemistry Laboratory, Rome, for their constructive remarks that help within the elaboration of this work.

Compliance with ethical standards


We confirm that there are no self-citations included in our manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chaïma Ahmedat
    • 1
  • Sanaa Dabi
    • 1
  • Mohamed Zahraoui
    • 1
  • Iz-Eddine El Amrani El Hassani
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Geodiversity, Biodiversity and Natural Patrimony (GEOBIO), GEOPAC Center, Department of Earth Sciences, Scientific InstituteUniversity Mohammed V of RabatRabat-AgdalMorocco

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