Red soils derived from limestone contain higher amounts of trace elements than those derived from various other parent materials

Shin ichi Yamasaki, Akira Takeda, Keishi Nunohara, Noriyoshi Tsuchiya

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The concentrations of 48 trace elements (Li, Be, Sc, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, As, Br, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Mo, Ag, In, Cd, Sn, Sb, I, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, Lu, Hf, Ta, W, Tl, Pb, Bi, Th and U) in 14 soils derived from limestone, sampled at three sites, are compared with the concentrations in 500 soil samples derived from a variety of other parent materials. The 500 samples were collected from 75 sites nationwide in order to include the wide range of common soil types in Japan. Most analytical results were obtained by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), but Cr, As, Br, Zr, Sn, and I concentrations were determined by energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF), because the acid dissolution techniques employed in this study were found to be incapable of recovering these elements completely. In order to examine the reliability of analyses, the concentrations of many elements were also determined by EDXRF, inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). Box and whisker diagrams (Tukey plots), constructed using log-transformed values of each element, show clearly that geometric means of nearly all the trace elements in soils derived from limestone are higher than those in soils derived from other parent materials. The only exceptions are Sr, Ag and Eu, though statistical analysis (Student's t-test) shows that the differences for these three elements were not significant at p < 0.05. Similarly, the observed differences of geometric means for Sc, Br and Ba between limestone soils and other types of soils were also not significant at p < 0.05. It can be concluded, therefore, that the concentrations of the above-mentioned 48 trace elements in soils derived from limestone are significantly higher than those in other types of soils, with the exception of Sc, Br, Sr, Ag, and Ba, though it was necessary to exclude 81 soil samples, developed on scoriaceous (basaltic) volcanic ash from Mt. Fuji, as an exceptional group for comparisons of V and Cu, as these soils contain higher levels of these two elements. The above results can be attributed to the gradual accumulation of trace elements in the limestone soils due to the intense weathering processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-699
Number of pages8
JournalSoil Science and Plant Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct 1


  • box and whisker plot
  • log-transformation
  • natural enrichment
  • soils derived from limestone
  • trace elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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