Publication details

Geochemistry and mineralogy of shallow alluvial aquifers in Daudkandi upazila in the Meghna flood plain, Bangladesh



Year of publication 2009
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Environmental Geology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Alluvial aquifer; Bangladesh; Redox status; Metal-oxyhydroxides; Arsenic mobility
Description The shallow alluvial aquifers of the delta plains and flood plains of Bangladesh, comprises about 70% of total land area are mostly affected by elevated concentrations of arsenic (As) in groundwater exposing a population of more than 35 million to As toxicity. Geochemical studies of shallow alluvial aquifer in the Meghna flood plain show that the uppermost yellowish grey sediment is low in As (1.03 mg/kg) compared to the lower dark grey to black sediment (5.24 mg/kg) rich in mica and organic matter. Sequential extraction data show that solid phase As bound to poorly crystalline and amorphous metal (Fe, Mn, Al)-oxyhydroxides is dominant in the grey to dark grey sediment and reaches its maximum level (3.05 mg/kg) in the mica rich layers. Amount of As bound to sulphides and organic matter also peaks in the dark grey to black sediment. Vertical distributions of major elements determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) show that iron (Fe2O3), aluminum (Al2O3) and manganese (MnO) follow the general trend of distribution of As in the sediments. Concentrations of As, Mn, Fe, HCO3 (-), SO4 (2-) and NO3 (-) in groundwater reflect the redox status of the aquifer and are consistent with solid phase geochemistry. Mineralogical analysis by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) fitted with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) revealed dominance of crystalline iron oxides and hydroxides like magnetite, hematite and goethite in the oxidised yellowish grey sediment. Amorphous Fe-oxyhydroxides identified as grain coating in the mica and organic matter rich sediment suggests weathering of biotite is playing a critical role as the source of Fe(III)-oxyhydroxides which in turn act as sink for As. Presence of authigenic pyrite in the dark grey sediment indicates active reduction in the aquifer.

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