Contamination of soil and vegetation at a magnesite mining area in Jelšava-Lubeník (Slovakia)

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Abstract

This paper is focused on the impacts of alkaline and metal deposition on soil and vegetation in the immission field of magnesium factory Jelšava-Lubeník (Slovakia). Soil samples and the foliage of vegetation were obtained from the Jelšava-Lubeník area with specific alkaline pollutants. The examined area is one of the most devastated regions of Slovakia. From the point of view of environmental regionalization, it belongs to an environmentally damaged area of Category 3. The total content of heavy metals in the soil and vegetation (Pb, Zn, Cr, Mn, Mg) were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Soil reaction was determined in a solution of 0.01 M CaCl2. Vegetation was assessed by the Braun-Blanquet scale. In conclusion, we can say that spray particles of free magnesium oxide (MgO) strongly influence soil reaction, diversity, and vegetation cover. The research showed that the investigated sites were mostly strongly alkaline; the contents of Cr, Mn and Mg were over the toxicity limit, while the measured values of Pb and Zn did not exceed the limits set by the law. The values that measured significantly above the set limit show contamination that can be considered harmful and toxic. In the monitored species, that is, Agrostis stolonifera, Elytrigia repens and Phragmites australis, an over-limit content of Pb and Zn and toxic contents of Mg and Mn were found.

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