Physical and chemical characterization of sediments from an Andean river exposed to mining and agricultural activities: The Moquegua River, Peru

Luis de Los Santos Valladares, Juan Luis Ccamapaza, Renato Arturo Valencia-Bedregal, Luis Enrique Borja-Castro, Jose Velazquez-Garcia, Dehiwalage Harshani Nimalika Perera, Adrian Ionescu, David Arvidsson, Eustace Peregrine Barnes, Peter Newton, Hugo Lepage, Patrick Byrne, Angel Guillermo Bustamante Dominguez, Crispin H.W. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents an analysis of sediments in an Andean river impacted by both natural conditions and anthropogenic activities. Fifty samples were collected from selected sites throughout the Moquegua River drainage basin, and Tambo River headwaters at Pasto Grande, in Peru, and analysed with X-ray diffraction, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis. Si, Ca, Al, Fe, and O, common constituents of soils, were dominant, along with K, N, and P. The latter originating as primary macronutrients or chemical residuals from fertilizers used in agriculture. Higher concentrations of macronutrients and organic components were found in agricultural and urban areas, respectively. Arsenic minerals were also detected, which occur naturally, but possibly at levels augmented by anthropogenic activity. The application of cluster analysis revealed clustering between arsenic, arsenolite, and potassium but no significant geospatial correlation between sample sites in the drainage basin.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sediment Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by a Pilot Collaboration project (Grant No. RG85120 ) between the University of Cambridge (UK) and the Universidad Nacional de Moquegua (Peru). The authors thank A. Quispe and W. Zeballos for administrative support during collection of samples. Part of the work has been supported by the Incorporación de Investigadores Program of the CONCYTEC – FONDECYT. UNMSM (Contrat No. 12–2019 – FONDECYT – BM – INC.INV.), Peru.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 International Research and Training Centre on Erosion and Sedimentation/the World Association for Sedimentation and Erosion Research


  • Andean river
  • Clustering analysis
  • Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy
  • Moquegua river
  • Sediments


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