Articles | Volume 7, issue 10
Biogeosciences, 7, 3019–3025, 2010

Special issue: Modeling soil system: complexity under your feet

Biogeosciences, 7, 3019–3025, 2010

  06 Oct 2010

06 Oct 2010

Density/area power-law models for separating multi-scale anomalies of ore and toxic elements in stream sediments in Gejiu mineral district, Yunnan Province, China

Q. Cheng1,2, Q. Xia1,3, W. Li4, S. Zhang5, Z. Chen1,3, R. Zuo1, and W. Wang2 Q. Cheng et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, Beijing 100087, China
  • 2Department of Earth and Space Engineering, Department of Geography, York University, Toronto, 4700 Keele Street, M3J 1P3, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Faculty of Resources, China University of Geosciences, China
  • 4Yunnan Academy of Geological Survey, Kunming 650051, Yunnan, China
  • 5Institute of Resources and Environment, Shijianzhuang University of Economics, Shijiazhuang, China

Abstract. This contribution introduces a fractal filtering technique newly developed on the basis of a spectral energy density vs. area power-law model in the context of multifractal theory. It can be used to map anisotropic singularities of geochemical landscapes created from geochemical concentration values in various surface media such as soils, stream sediments, tills and water. A geochemical landscape can be converted into a Fourier domain in which the spectral energy density is plotted against the area (in wave number units), and the relationship between the spectrum energy density (S) and the area (A) enclosed by the above-threshold spectrum energy density can be fitted by power-law models. Mixed geochemical landscape patterns can be fitted with different S-A power-law models in the frequency domain. Fractal filters can be defined according to these different S-A models and used to decompose the geochemical patterns into components with different self-similarities. The fractal filtering method was applied to a geochemical dataset from 7,349 stream sediment samples collected from Gejiu mineral district, which is famous for its word-class tin and copper production. Anomalies in three different scales were decomposed from total values of the trace elements As, Sn, Cu, Zn, Pb, and Cd. These anomalies generally correspond to various geological features and geological processes such as sedimentary rocks, intrusions, fault intersections and mineralization.

Final-revised paper