Physicochemical and mineralogical characteristics of dust particles deposited in Ahvaz city

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Former M.Sc. student, Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture, Shahid Cahmran University of Ahvaz

2 Professor, Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture, Shahid Cahmran University of Ahvaz

3 Assistant Professor, College of Water Sciences, Shahid Cahmran University of Ahvaz


More than two thirds of the total area in Iran has been covered by arid and semi-arid regions and climate. Although dust storm is an important environmental issue in these regions, especially in western and southwestern provinces, limited information is available regarding characteristics and sources of such phenomena. This study was carried out to identify deposition rate, particle size distribution, heavy metal (Zn, Pb, and Cd) concentrations, and mineralogical composition of dust particles collected using marble dust collector (MDCO) from 15 sampling points in Ahvaz city during a 6 month period in 2011. Results indicated that the average level of deposited particles within the dust storm periods was considerably more pronounced than that of the period’s with no dust storms. The results illustrated that, due to such local factors as the presence of bare lands surrounding the city, and abandoned constructional projects, dust deposition rate in such areas was far more than in other localities. Results also indicated the mineralogical composition of the dust particles mainly comprised of calcite, quartz, and feldspars. Results of particle size distribution analysis showed that the dust particles were mainly silt-sized. However, with occurrence of dust storms, the size of particles became tinier. The highest concentrations of the heavy metals Pb, Cd and Zn were observed downtown and in the industrial neighborhood of the city. In addition, the greatest concentration of the heavy metals was observed in December as compared with the other months of the study period.    


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