Geochemistry in Ecosystem Analysis of Heavy Metal Pollution

  • Frederic R. Siegel
Chapter

Abstract

Environmental geochemistry is the discipline that uses the chemistry of the solid earth, its aqueous and gaseous components, and life forms to assess heavy metal contamination impacts on our planet’s ecosystems. It deals with physical, chemical and biological conditions in an environment such as temperature, state of matter, acidity (pH), reduction-oxidation (redox) potential, bacterial activity and biological oxygen demand (BOD). These factors and others influence the mobilization, dispersion, deposition, distribution and concentration of potentially toxic metals/metalloids which can impair the health of organisms in an ecosystem. As such, environmental geochemical data identify pristine chemical conditions that pose no threats to ecosystem inhabitants, those that may suffer from (natural) chemical intrusion from rock weathering and decomposition, and environments that are at risk from chemical element pollution as a result of human activities.

Keywords

Dust Phytoplankton Geochemistry Selenate Acidity 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederic R. Siegel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesThe George Washington UniversityUSA

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