Seasonal fluctuations in zinc speciation within a contaminated wetland. Academic Article uri icon


  • The cycling of common sorbents such as metal (hydr)- oxides, carbonates, and sulfides in redox-active environments influences the partitioning of associated trace elements such as zinc. Consequently, fluctuations in redox status may in part determine the availability and mobility of Zn and other trace elements. This research examines changes in Zn speciation in a contaminated wetland soil that undergoes seasonal flooding. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) was employed to identify and quantify Zn species from soil cores collected over a 1-year cycle as a function of water depth, location, and soil depth. Zinc associated with (hydr)oxide phases in dry, oxidized soils and with sulfides and carbonates in flooded systems. An increase in water level was accompanied by a reversible change in Zn fractionation toward ZnS and ZnC03. However, a small, recalcitrant fraction of Zn associated with (hydr)oxides remained even when the soils were exposed to highly reducing conditions. Water depth and redox potential were the most important factors in determining Zn speciation, although spatial variation was also important. These data indicate that zinc sorption is a dynamic process influenced by environmental changes.

publication date

  • October 1, 2001