Fe and Mn levels regulated by agricultural activities in alluvial groundwaters underneath a flooded paddy field

Kangjoo Kim, Hyun Jung Kim, Byoung Young Choi, Seok Hwi Kim, Ki hoon Park, Eungyu Park, Dong Chan Koh, Seong Taek Yun

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Iron and Mn concentrations in fresh groundwaters of alluvial aquifers are generally high in reducing conditions reflecting low SO4 concentrations. The mass balance and isotopic approaches of this study demonstrate that reduction of SO4, supplied from agricultural activities such as fertilization and irrigation, is important in lowering Fe and Mn levels in alluvial groundwaters underneath a paddy field. This study was performed to investigate the processes regulating Fe and Mn levels in groundwaters of a point bar area, which has been intensively used for flood cultivation. Four multilevel-groundwater samplers were installed to examine the relationship between geology and the vertical changes in water chemistry. The results show that Fe and Mn levels are regulated by the presence of NO3 at shallow depths and by SO4 reduction at the greater depths. Isotopic and mass balance analyses revealed that NO3 and SO4 in groundwater are mostly supplied from the paddy field, suggesting that the Fe-and Mn-rich zone of the study area is confined by the agricultural activities. For this reason, the geologic conditions controlling the infiltration of agrochemicals are also important for the occurrence of Fe/Mn-rich groundwaters in the paddy field area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-57
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) Grant funded by the Korea Government (MOST) (Contract #: R01-2006-000-11050-0). This paper has been greatly improved because of the constructive comments from Dr. Richard B. Wanty of the US Geological Survey and two anonymous reviewers.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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