Controls on soil geochemistry fractal characteristics in Lemesos (Limassol), Cyprus

Behnam Sadeghi has recently published a research paper about urban geochemistry in Cyprus, based on soil data, and using fractal models and statistical analysis. A part of this paper is from his PhD thesis. This is a collaborative project with the Geological Survey of Cyprus and UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

ABSTRACT:

This study extends the program of urban soil geochemical mapping in Cyprus to Lemesos, the country’s second largest and fastest developing urban centre. Data from 411 soil samples are combined with samples previously analysed as part of the detailed soil geochemical atlas of Cyprus (GAC). Parent lithology is the dominant control on the distribution of most elements with soils derived from carbonate units contrasting with those developed on alluvium-colluvium that contains input from both the carbonates and mafic-ultramafic units of the nearby Troodos Ophiolite. Anthropogenic contamination is best indicated by the Pb-Sn-Ag-Bi suite with elevated values in a belt crossing the southern and older section of the city that is unrelated to parent lithology or current land use classification. As in Lefkosia, children’s playgrounds display much higher As contents than at other sites due to application of a natural secondary carbonate (‘pouri’) as the surface layer, and elevated concentrations of Cu, Fe, Ti, Al, S and Mn associated with basaltic soils used in most school grounds. Multivariate patterns in the Lemesos data largely reflect those of similar parent lithologies within the national soil atlas, but there is closer clustering of the contamination-related elements and an ultramafic suite involving Ni-Cr-Pt-Pd-V-Co in Lemesos. Whereas most elements display multifractal populations using number-size fractal modelling, in urban and contaminated areas some higher concentration element populations do not display fractal behaviour, thus providing a means of identifying anthropogenic influences.

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