Mercury characterization in a soil sample collected nearby the DOE Oak Ridge Reservation utilizing sequential extraction and thermal desorption method

Sci Total Environ. 2006 Oct 1;369(1-3):384-92. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.07.011. Epub 2006 Aug 9.


A new attempt to characterize Hg speciation and to evaluate Hg mobility in soils was made by applying operationally defined speciation techniques coupled with fractionation of soil components to a soil sample collected just outside the Y-12 boundary of the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) site. The soil sample was fractionated based on redoximorphic features and particle size and a sequential extraction procedure and thermal desorption technique were then applied to the fractionated soil components. The redoximorphic concentration component was observed to have higher Hg concentrations than the redoximorphic depletion component in the soil, and fine particles contained higher concentrations of Hg compared with coarse particles. The preliminary results of using thermal desorption as well as the sequential extraction procedure suggested that Hg0 and other "easily" vaporized Hg species accounted for 10-30% of total Hg in the soil. Sequential extraction analysis showed that both soluble and bioavailable Hg fractions were relatively small proportions whereas the organic matter bound mercury fraction constituted the major form of Hg species in the sample. The results suggest that Hg retained in the redoximorphic concentrations was less volatile and labile than Hg in the redoximorphic depletions possibly due to the strong binding affinity of Fe/Mn oxides and organic matter to Hg.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / analysis
  • Chemical Fractionation
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Hot Temperature
  • Mercury / analysis*
  • Mercury Compounds / analysis
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Tennessee
  • United States Government Agencies


  • Mercury Compounds
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Carbon
  • Mercury