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Géochimie, spéciation et mobilité des éléments traces métalliques (Fe, Ni, Cr et Mn) au sein des sédiments du lagon de Nouvelle-Calédonie

Abstract : New Caledonia is covered on 33% of ultramafic rocks enriched in trace metals elements (Fe, Ni, Cr, Mn and Co). The erosion of these massifs represents an important source of these trace metals towards the lagoon, partially registered on the World List Heritage by UNESCO for its biodiversity. Understanding the geochemical cycle of these toxic trace metals is essential to evaluate the potential impacts on the biodiversity of this ecosystem. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) has shown that the contribution of iron sulfides is low, Ni and Fe are bearing by goethite and clays. These latter minerals representing the major phase for the Fe and Ni speciation were identified as chrysotile and green clays: a smectite (nontronite), a mica (glauconite) and a serpentine like a greenalite/berthierine. The clay minerals cycle and the green clay plays a major role in the Fe and Ni cycle, but also in Mn and to a lesser extent in the Cr cycles. The Mn speciation is shared by the clay minerals and the carbonates species whereas Cr is bearing by goethite and chromite inherited of laterite and in lesser extent by clay minerals. Cr is totally present under the reduced form which is the less toxic form. This absence of Cr(VI) is linked to the absence of Mn oxides in sediments avoiding the oxidation of Cr(III) to Cr(VI) and thus limits the impact on the environment. Finally, the chemical extractions of these metals show a relatively low bioavailability of trace metals except for Mn implying an effective long-term trapping for trace metals and thus limiting the environmental impacts even if the concentrations extracted are not negligible and can be threaten the biodiversity of the lagoon.
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Pauline Merrot. Géochimie, spéciation et mobilité des éléments traces métalliques (Fe, Ni, Cr et Mn) au sein des sédiments du lagon de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Géochimie. Sorbonne Université, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019SORUS551⟩. ⟨tel-03137916⟩

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