Magnetic signature of pollution particles in soils

Sigrid Hemetsberger

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Soil samples from Carinthia, Upper Austria and Styria were analysed by means of magnetic, mineralogical and chemical analyses. Magnetic measurements showed that industrially polluted soils are characterized by high values of magnetic susceptibility, high saturation remanence and low relative content of high coercivity minerals. The relative content of high coercivity minerals (AFRest parameter) showed similar statistical distributions in all three provinces; therefore it could be used in over-regional studies. For polluted samples the upper limit for the AFRest parameter was set at 8%. This parameter can be determined easily and fast, and it is suitable as a pollution proxy parameter in addition to magnetic susceptibility in environmental studies. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the presence of magnetic spherules with diameters ranging from 1 to over 100 micrometer in polluted soils. Scale and other non-spheral pollution particles were detected in limited amounts. In soils developed over strongly magnetic bedrock magnetite octahedrons and other natural magnetic particles have been identified. Energy dispersive elemental analysis in scanning electron microscopy yielded significant concentrations of the heavy metals Chromium, Manganese, Nickel, Titanium, Copper and Zinc. The heavy metals are found either within the particles or in flakes attached on the surface of the pollution particles.
Translated title of the contributionMagnetische Signatur von Verschmutzungspartikeln in Böden
Original languageEnglish
  • Scholger, Robert, Assessor A (internal)
  • Thalhammer, Oskar, Assessor B (internal)
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

embargoed until null


  • Environmental magnetism heavy metals soil Austria

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