Geochemical Indices for the Assessment of Chemical Contamination Elements in Sediments of the Suches River, Peru

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Escuela de Posgrado, Programa de Doctorado en Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Nacional del Altiplano de Puno, Puno, Perú

2 Instituto de Investigación en Metalurgia, Materiales y Medio Ambiente, Universidad Nacional del Altiplano de Puno, Puno, Perú


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the concentrations of potentially toxic elements in the Suches river using standardized geochemical indices and to identify the main sources of contamination in the section from the Suches lagoon up to 33.8 km downstream of the effluent river, in the district of Cojata, Puno, Peru. The concentration of Al, Ba, Co, Fe, M, Ni, P, V and Zn in sediments of the Suches river was determined by means of mass spectrometry from October 2019 to February 2020. The values of Co, Fe, Mn, Ni, P and Zn exceeded the base values of contamination according to the general geological references while Al, Ba and V, did not surpass them. The contamination factor showed that the elements Co and Ni revealed a very high level of contamination, while the Zn, a considerable level. The area has an average pollution load index value of 2.24, indicating moderate general pollution. The elements Co, Ni, Al and Zn were within the moderate and extreme classification according to the pollution index. The Spearman's correlation analysis allowed determining the association between Al, Fe, Mn, P and V, which share a natural origin and the accumulation of these elements is due to the effects of weathering and soil erosion. The evaluation of the contamination indices and the correlation confirm that Cobalt, Nickel and Zinc are toxic elements associated with gold mining and agricultural activities.


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