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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 15, issue 2 | Copyright

Special issue: New observing strategies for monitoring natural and technological...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 325-333, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-15-325-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 23 Feb 2015

Research article | 23 Feb 2015

Assessment of atmospheric trace element concentrations by lichen-bag near an oil/gas pre-treatment plant in the Agri Valley (southern Italy)

R. Caggiano1, S. Trippetta1,2, and S. Sabia1 R. Caggiano et al.
  • 1IMAA, Istituto di Metodologie per l'Analisi Ambientale, CNR, C. da S. Loja, Z. I., 85050 Tito Scalo (PZ), Italy
  • 2Osservatorio Ambientale Val d'Agri, Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 3, 85052 Marsico Nuovo (PZ), Italy

Abstract. The atmospheric concentrations of 17 trace elements (Al, Ca, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, P, Pb, S, Ti and Zn) were measured by means of the "lichen-bag" technique in the Agri Valley (southern Italy). The lichen samples were collected from an unpolluted site located in Rifreddo forest (southern Italy), about 30 km away from the study area along the north direction. The bags were exposed to ambient air for 6 and 12 months. The exposed-to-control (EC) ratio values highlighted that the used lichen species were suitable for biomonitoring investigations. The results showed that the concentrations of almost all the examined trace elements increased with respect to the control after 6–12-month exposures. Furthermore, Ca, Al, Fe, K, Mg and S were the most abundant trace elements both in the 6-month and 12-month-exposed samples. Moreover, principal component analysis (PCA) results highlighted that the major sources of the measured atmospheric trace elements were related both to anthropogenic contributions due to traffic, combustion processes agricultural practices, construction and quarrying activities, and to natural contributions mainly represented by the re-suspension of local soil and road dusts. In addition, the contribution both of secondary atmospheric reactions involving Centro Olio Val d'Agri (COVA) plant emissions and the African dust long-range transport were also identified.

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