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Iron mineralogy as a fingerprint of former steelmaking activities in river sediments

Abstract : Submerged sediment cores were collected upstream of a dam in the Orne River, northeastern France. This dam was built in the context of steelmaking to constitute a water reservoir for blast furnace cooling and wet cleaning of furnace smokes. The dam also enhanced sediment deposition in the upstream zone. This study was performed to unravel the contamination status of sediments and to evidence possible contribution sources. The sediment layers were analyzed for water content, grain size, chemical composition, crystalline phases at a bulk scale and poorly crystalline and amorphous phases at a sub-micrometer scale. Visual aspect, texture, color, and chemical and mineralogical analyses showed that the settled sediments were mainly composed of fine black matter, certainly comprising steelmaking by-products. Those materials were highly enriched with Fe, Zn, Pb and other trace metals, except for a relatively thin layer of surficial sediments that had settled more recently. Bulk mineralogy revealed crystalline iron minerals, such as magnetite, goethite, wuestite and pyrite, in the deep layers of the sediment cores. Furthermore, microscopic investigations evidenced the presence of ferrospheres, goethite nanoparticles and newly formed Fe-aluminosilicates; all originating from the former steelmaking facilities. The variation of iron mineralogy, combined with specific chemical profiles and other sediment features, demonstrate the different contributions that constitute the sediment deposit. Furthermore, chemical and mineralogical features of goethite and Fe-aluminosilicates could be used as a fingerprint for such contaminated sediments.
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/hal-01542484
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Hussein Jaafar Kanbar, Emmanuelle Montargès-Pelletier, Benoit Losson, Isabelle Bihannic, Renaud Gley, et al.. Iron mineralogy as a fingerprint of former steelmaking activities in river sediments. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2017, 599-600, pp.540 - 553. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.04.156⟩. ⟨hal-01542484⟩

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