Mechanisms and velocities of anthropogenic Pb migration in mediterranean soils

Yigal Erel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The isotopic composition of Pb measured in soil samples was used to determine rates and mechanisms of anthropogenic Pb migration in the soil. Petrol-Pb found in soluble halogenated aerosols migrates into the soil and is retained in the soil by the stationary soil particles. Lead infiltration velocity is approximately 5x10-1 cm/year, and its retardation factor is estimated to be on the order of 1 x 103. The infiltration of Pb into the soil is best described by the advection-dispersion equation under the assumption that the time scale of the longitudinal dispersion is much longer than the time scale of advection. Therefore, the contribution of dispersion to the solution of the advection-dispersion equation is negligible. As a result, the soil profile of petrol-Pb resembles the time-dependent input function of petrol-Pb. The estimated petrol-Pb penetration velocity and the isotopic composition profile of Pb in off-road soil are used for the computation of the fraction of anthropogenic Pb in this soil. It is calculated that the fraction of anthropogenic Pb in the acid-leached soil samples and in the soil residue of this soil profile drops from 60 and 22% near the surface to 6 and 0% at a depth of 33 cm, respectively. The downward migration velocity of Pb in soils of the studied area, which are typically 50 to 100 cm deep, implies a residence time of Pb in the soil of 100 to 200 years.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)112-117
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1Funding for this work was provided by the Belfer Foundation and by the Israeli Academy of Sciences.

Funding Information:
The author thanks A. Veron and L. Halicz for their help in collecting, processing, and analyzing the samples. He also thanks V. Lichovsky, A. Friedland, and J. J. Morgan for their helpful comments. Funding was provided by the Belfer Foundation and the Israel Science Foundation.


  • Isotopes
  • Lead(Pb)
  • Pollution
  • Porous media
  • Soil


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