Mineralogy and geochemistry of atmospheric particulates in western Iran

Hesam Ahmady-Birgani, Hassan Mirnejad, Sadat Feiznia, Ken MCQUEEN

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    This study investigates the mineralogy and physico-chemical properties of atmospheric particulates collected at Abadan (southwestern Iran) near the Persian Gulf coast and Urmia (northwestern Iran) during ambient and dust events over 6 months (winter 2011; spring 2012). Particle sizes collected were: TSP (total suspended particulates); PM 10 (particulates <10 μm); and PM 2.5 (particulates <2.5 μm). Minerals were identified using X-ray diffraction (XRD); particle morphology and composition were examined by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX). Major minerals detected are calcite, quartz, clay minerals and gypsum, with relative abundance related to sampling site, collection period, wind direction, sampling head, and total sample amount. The anomalously high calcite content appears a characteristic feature originated from calcareous soils of the region. SEM observations indicated a wide range of particle morphologies over the 1-50 μm size range, with spherical, platy, cubic, elongate and prismatic shapes and rounding from angular to rounded. Energy dispersive X-ray analysis of TSP samples from both sites for non-dusty periods indicated that the sampled mineral suite contained Al, Mg, Na, Cl, P, S, Ca, K, Fe, Ti, and Si, mostly reflecting calcite, quartz, aluminosilicates, clays, gypsum and halite. Additionally, As, Pb, Zn, Mn, Sc, Nd, W, Ce, La, Ba and Ni were detected in TSP, PM 10 and PM 2.5 samples collected during dust events.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)262-272
    Number of pages11
    JournalAtmospheric Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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