Multivariate statistical methods in determining the spatial distribution of chemical elements in soil from the Mavrovo-Rostuše region, North Macedonia
Keywords:soil, heavy metals, spatial distribution, Mavrovo-Rostuše region, North Macedonia
In this work, the contents and spatial distributions of 19 elements (Ag, Al, B, Ba, Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, P, Pb, Sr, V, Zn) in the soil of the western part of North Macedonia (Mavrovo-Rostuše region) are presented. For this purpose, a total of 66 soil samples were collected from 33 locations (33 samples of topsoil, 0-5 cm, and 33 samples of subsoil, 20-30 cm). All samples were analysed by inductively coupled plasma - atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) after complete digestion with four acids (HNO3, HF, HClO4 and HCl). The obtained results were statistically evaluated and spatial distribution maps for all analysed elements were also prepared. Factor analysis was performed to reduce the number of data used and new synthetic variables (factors) were identified. Through the application of factor analysis, three geochemical associations were identified: Factor 1 (Zn, K, Cu, Fe, and Li), Factor 2 (Cr, Ni, and Mg) and Factor 3 (Ca and Al). From the obtained data and the maps of spatial distribution, it could be concluded that the distribution of the analysed elements is related to the lithology of the region. Thus, it was found that the higher content of elements of Factor 1 occurs in the eastern and southern part of the study area (middle and lower reaches of the Radika River and along the Mala River), where Mesozoic and Paleozoic carbonates as well as Paleozoic shales and Paleogene flysch prevail. Factor 2 (Cr, Ni and Mg) also represents a lithogenic association. The highest contents of the elements in both soil layers were found in the areas where Paleozoic sandstones and shales (village of Lazaropole and the area around the Mavrovo Lake) and Paleogene flysch (Rostuše village) predominate. Factor 3 (Ca and Al) also represents lithogenic association of elements. The highest content of these elements was found in the northwestern part of the study area (village of Žirovnica and along the Berička River) and in the northeastern region above the village of Brodec where Mesozoic carbonates and Paleogene flysch dominate.
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