Origin and spatial distribution of metals in moss samples in Albania: A hotspot of heavy metal contamination in Europe
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionChemosphere. 2018, 337-349. 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.09.132
This study presents the spatial distribution of 37 elements in 48 moss samples collected over the whole territory of Albania and provides information on sources and factors controlling the concentrations of elements in the moss. High variations of trace metals indicate that the concentrations of elements are affected by different factors. Relations between the elements in moss, geochemical interpretation of the data, and secondary effects such as redox conditions generated from local soil and/or long distance atmospheric transport of the pollutants are discussed. Zr normalized data, and the ratios of different elements are calculated to assess the origin of elements present in the current moss samples with respect to different geogenic and anthropogenic inputs. Factor analysis (FA) is used to identify the most probable sources of the elements. Four dominant factors are identified, i.e. natural contamination; dust emission from local mining operations; atmospheric transport of contaminants from local and long distance sources; and contributions from air borne marine salts. Mineral particle dust from local emission sources is classified as the most important factor affecting the atmospheric deposition of elements accumulated in the current moss samples. The open slag dumps of mining operation in Albania is probably the main factor contributing to high contents of Cr, Ni, Fe, Ti and Al in the moss. Enrichment factors (EF) were calculated to clarify whether the elements in the present moss samples mainly originate from atmospheric deposition and/or local substrate materials.