Isotopes Trace Biogeochemistry and Sources of Cu and Zn in an intertidal soil

Bigalke, Moritz; Kersten, Michael; Weyer, Stefan; Wilcke, Wolfgang (2013). Isotopes Trace Biogeochemistry and Sources of Cu and Zn in an intertidal soil. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 77(2), pp. 680-691. Soil Science Society of America 10.2136/sssaj2012.0225

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River floodplain soils are sinks and potential sources for toxic trace metals like Cu and Zn. We hypothesize that stable Cu and Zn isotope ratios reflect both the mobilization and the sources of metals. We determined the soil properties, the concentrations and partitioning of Cu and Zn, and variations in δ65Cu and δ66Zn values in a core obtained from an Aquic Udifluvent developed on a freshwater intertidal mudflat of the River Elbe, Germany. The core was sampled at 2 cm intervals to a depth of 34 cm, which corresponds to approximately 9 yr of sedimentation. Elevated concentrations of Cu (up to 320 μg g−1) and Zn (up to 2080 μg g−1) indicated anthropogenic pollution. At the time of sampling the redox conditions changed from oxic (Eh 200 to 400 mV, above 22 cm deep) to strongly anoxic conditions (-100 to -200 mV, below 22 cm deep). The δ65Cu values varied systematically with depth (from -0.02 to 0.16‰) and were correlated with the Fe, C, and N concentrations. Although pre-depositional variations cannot be ruled out, the systematic variation with depth suggests post-sedimentation fractionation of δ65Cu in response to seasonally variable organic matter deposition and redox conditions. In contrast, the δ66ZnIRMM values were uniform (from -0.07 to 0.01‰) throughout the core, indicating that the Zn isotopes did not significantly fractionate after deposition and that the Zn sources were homogeneous throughout the sedimentation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Soil Science
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Bigalke, Moritz, Wilcke, Wolfgang


900 History > 910 Geography & travel




Soil Science Society of America




Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

11 Dec 2013 09:16

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:27

Publisher DOI:



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