Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências
On-line version ISSN 1678-2690
FARIA, MARCIA DE MELO and SANCHEZ, BRAZ A.. Geochemistry and mineralogy of recent sediments of Guanabara Bay (NE sector) and its major rivers - Rio de Janeiro State - Brazil. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2001, vol.73, n.1, pp. 121-133. ISSN 1678-2690. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0001-37652001000100010.
Geochemical and clay mineralogical studies of bottom sediments collected along the Macacu and Caceribu rivers and Guanabara Bay were carried out in order to investigate the relationship between major source areas and recent sediments of the bay. Clay mineralogy includes different groups with selective distribution conditioned by geomorphic features and depositional settings. Micaceous clay minerals are abundant near parent rock in the upper course, whereas kaolinite derived from varied sources is gradually concentrated towards the estuary. In the Guanabara Bay, kaolinite accumulates near river mouths, while micaceous clay minerals are converted into mixed layers in the estuary. Analyses of heavy metal contents reveal higher levels of Zn and Cu in sediments of the bay than in river sediments. Profiles along rivers indicate a downstream decrease of heavy metals, whereas in the bay geochemical trends display greater variations. In general river mouth sediments present the lowest concentrations. At the north and east of Paquetá Island anomalous areas with the highest heavy metal contents occur. Cu tends to concentrate in < 2mm grain-size fraction and indicates an association with micaceous clay minerals in the upper river course. However, Cu retention seems to be further controlled by other components of bottom sediments due to changes in physical and chemical conditions of the estuarine environment. Zn shows unstable behavior along the rivers and concentrates in the bay. Pb displays small variations from river to bay sediments, and accumulates mainly in the < 63mm grain-size fraction without any association with clay mineral. Geoaccumulation indexes of Cu, Pb and Zn classify the study area as unpolluted in both studied rivers and in the NE sector of the bay, though the enrichment factors are higher in the bay. The study does not indicate those rivers as major sources of heavy metal pollution to the bay.
Keywords : heavy metal; clay mineral; sediment; Guanabara Bay.