Geographical distribution of arsenic in sediments within the Rio Conchos Basin, Mexico


Arsenic (As) content of sediments from the Rio Conchos and Rio San Pedro in northern Mexico were measured to determine if this toxic metalloid had accumulated to unsafe levels to humans and aquatic life. The spatial distribution of As in each of the six clusters of river and arroyo sediments was analyzed to determine variations with respect to background levels and to infer about potential As sources and sinks. In the northern part of the study area, background concentrations varied little throughout the area and concentrations in river sediments were close to background levels. In the southern part, however, the content of As in arroyo sediment contained a wider range of values and anomalous concentrations. The latter could be traced in part to the presence of mine tailings. As concentrations were below the limit in all studied river stretches and thus do not pose an immediate threat to the river environment, but As content in reservoir sediments exceeded the guideline values. Reservoirs seem to act as a sink for As, warranting closer observation and monitoring.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Document Type





arroyo, arsenic, geochemical databases, Chihuahua, Rio Conchos, river sediment

Publication Date


Journal Title

Environmental Geology