Lalor, Gerald C.; Rattray, Robin; Simpson, Peter; Vutchkov, Mitko K.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences
Geochemistry of an arsenic anomaly in St Elizabeth, Jamaica
Environmental Geochemistry and Health
Date of Publication
A soil arsenic anomaly with concentrations up to 400 µg As g-1 was discovered near Maggotty, St. Elizabeth, during an island-wide geochemical survey of Jamaica. Detailed sampling and chemical analysis of soil samples confirmed the arsenic levels and led to a better definition of the size of the anomaly. The area exceeding the 95th percentile (> 65 µg As g-1) of the island-wide concentrations has been determined to be at least 10 km2. The anomalous values may be the result of an ancient hot spring environment which was responsible for the introduction and deposition of Fe-As-S as pyrite and arsenopyrite in the limestone bedrock, which were subsequently oxidised and weathered to yield the arsenic rich soils. These soils were also enhanced in elements such as Sb, Fe and Co. Despite the high soil arsenic content, the arsenic concentration in the surface water is low and there seems to be no immediate health risk to the residents. The area, however, does present a potential hazard with changing land use.....