Long-term studies of the North Caucasian geochemical province allowed to establish regional abundances and calculate accumulation (dispersion) factors for chemical elements in rocks, soils, and plants. Certain natural regional patterns characterize the province. Associations of elements in high and low concentrations are often determined by the predominant composition of rocks: carbonate-terrigenous, terrigenous, and igneous. The study of the average contents of several chemical elements in the soils of the province showed that the association of accumulated elements includes metals with different migration characteristics. Thus, despite the rather close values of the ionic radii, Pb, Zn, Cu, and Li (judging by the ionic potential) are characterized by the formation of cations, while Mn, Mo, and Zr form complex ions. Such elements as Zn, Cu, and Pb are mainly accumulated on hydrosulfuric barriers, while Mo, Co, and Mn are stopped by oxygenous barriers. For Cu, Zn, Mo, and Co, biogenic accumulation plays a significant role, while for Pb and Ni it is practically absent. The absolute dispersion of the elements did not reach environmentally hazardous values, although it indicates a fairly intensive migration. In woody plants, Ba, Nb, Sc, Sr, and Zn are accumulated most intensively.
Soils and plants of Saint Petersburg are under the constant technogenic stress caused by human activity in industrial, residential, and recreational landscapes of the city. To assess the transformed landscapes of various functional zones, we studied utility, housing, and park districts with a total area of over 7,000 hectares in the southern part of the city during the summer seasons of 2016-2018. Throughout the fieldwork period, 796 individual pairs of soil and plant samples were collected. A complex of consequent laboratory studies performed in an accredited laboratory allowed the characterization of key biogeochemical patterns of urban regolith specimens and herbage samples of various grasses. Chemical analyses provided information on the concentrations of polluting metals in soils and plants of different land use zones. Data interpretation and calculation of element accumulation factors revealed areas with the most unfavorable environmental conditions. We believe that a high pollution level in southern city districts has led to a significant degree of physical, chemical, and biological degradation of the soil and vegetation cover. As of today, approximately 10 % of the Technosols in the study area have completely lost the ability to biological self-revitalization, which results in ecosystem malfunction and the urgent need for land remediation.
The restoration technologies in areas degraded by extractive activities require the use of their own mine spoils. Reducing deficiencies in physical properties, organic matter, and nutrients with a contribution of treated sewage sludge is proposed. This experiment was based on a controlled study using columns. The work was done with two mine spoils, both very rich in calcium carbonate. Two sewage sludge doses were undertaken (30,000 and 90,000 kg/ha of sewage sludge) in addition to a different mine spoils used as restoration substrates. The water contribution was provided by a device that simulated short duration rain. The leached water was collected 24 hours after the last application. The experiment saw the bulk density decrease and the aggregate stability increase, thereby improving the structure. The improved soil structure decreases its vulnerability to degradation processes such as erosion and compaction.