Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (6): 735-749.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1296-x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Identifying sources and hazardous risks of heavy metals in topsoils of rapidly urbanizing East China

Yang LIU1(), Zongwei MA1,*(), Jianshu LV2,3,*, Jun BI1   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. The Key Laboratory of Coast and Island Development of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. College of Population, Resource and Environment, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
  • Received:2015-07-20 Accepted:2015-12-28 Online:2016-06-15 Published:2016-06-15
  • Contact: Zongwei MA,Jianshu LV;
  • About author:

    Author: Liu Yang (1986-), PhD Candidate, specialized in environmental planning and management.E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    China State-Sponsored Postgraduate Study Abroad Program, No.201306190053;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41101079;The Program B for Outstanding PhD Candidate of Nanjing University, No.2014001B008;The Program for Graduate Student’s Research Innovation of Jiangsu Province, No.CXLX13-051


With rapid economic and social development, soil contamination arising from heavy metals has become a serious problem in many parts of China. We collected a total of 445 samples (0-20 cm) at the nodes of a 2 km×2 km grid in surface soils of Rizhao city, and analyzed sources and risk pattern of 10 heavy metals (As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn). The combination of Multivariate statistics analysis and Geostatistical methods was applied to identify the sources and hazardous risk of heavy metals in soils. The result indicated that Cr, Ni, Co, Mn, Cu, and As were mainly controlled by parent materials and came from natural sources. Cd and Hg originated from anthropogenic sources. Pb and Zn, belonging to different groups in multivariate analysis, were associated with joint effect of parent materials and human inputs. Ordinary Kriging and Indicator Kriging suggested that single element and elements association from the same principal components had similar spatial distribution. Through comprehensive assessment on all elements, we also found the high risk areas were located in the populated urban areas and western study area, which could be attributed to the higher geological background in the western part and strong human interference in the eastern part.

Key words: heavy metals in soils, hazardous risk, multivariate analysis, Indicator Kriging, Rizhao