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Source Apportionment of Rare Earth Elements in PM2.5 in a Southeast Coastal City of China

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.12.0559

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Gongren Hu1, Shanshan Wang1, Ruilian Yu 1, Zongwei Zhang1, Xiaoming Wang2

  • 1 College of Chemical Engineering, HuaQiao University, Xiamen 361021, China
  • 2 Analytical Laboratory of Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, Beijing 100029, China


Rare earth elements in PM2.5 in Quanzhou City are analyzed for the first time.
Ternary diagrams and Nd isotope are used for investigating the main provenance.
REEs mainly derived from other sources except for soil dust.
REEs in PM2.5 in Quanzhou undergoes the largest influence from traffic source.


In order to study the geochemical characteristics and sources of rare earth elements (REEs) in PM2.5 in Quanzhou City, 116 PM2.5 samples were collected from three functional areas in Quanzhou City in four seasons, then REE compositions and distribution patterns were analyzed, together with ternary diagrams for investigating the main provenance of REEs. Meanwhile, the sources of PM2.5 were traced using the diagram of Nd isotope ratio versus REE characteristics. The concentrations of total rare earth elements (ΣREE), total light rare earth elements (ΣLREE) and total heavy rare earth elements (ΣHREE) in PM2.5 in Quanzhou City are different in four seasons with the sequence of summer > spring > winter > autumn, and also different in different functional areas with the sequence of residential and industrial area > residential and commercial area > scenic area. There are significant correlations between ΣREE in PM2.5 and PM2.5 mass concentration in spring, summer and winter, while no correlation in autumn. The chondrite-normalized REE patterns in PM2.5 and potential-source samples are all rightward inclined with the enrichment of LREE relative to HREE, and present obvious negative Eu anomalies. Results of La-Ce-Sm diagram demonstrate that the REEs in PM2.5 of all functional areas mainly derived from other sources except for soil dust. The sources of REEs in PM2.5 in four seasons and the reasons for spatial differences of REEs in various functional areas can be determined via the La-Ce-V ternary diagram. The diagram of 143Nd/144Nd versus LREE/HREE suggests that the REEs in PM2.5 in Quanzhou City is mainly affected by vehicle exhaust, followed by coal combustion and construction dust, while less affected by soil dust and steelworks emissions.


PM2.5 Rare earth elements Nd isotope Geochemical characteristics Source analysis

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