The extremely heterogeneous distribution of As in Bangladesh groundwater has hampered efforts to identify with certainty the mechanisms that lead to extensive mobilization of this metalloid in reducing aquifers. We show here on the basis of a high-resolution transect of soil and aquifer properties collected in Araihazar, Bangladesh, that revealing tractable associations between As concentrations in shallow (< 20 in) groundwater with other geological, hydrological, and geochemical features requires a lateral sampling resolution of 10-100 in. Variations in the electromagnetic conductivity of surface soils (5-40 mS/m) within a 500 m x 200 in area are documented with 560 EM31 measurements. The results are compared with a detailed section of groundwater As concentrations (5-150 mu g/L) and other aquifer properties obtained with a simple sampling device, "the needle-sampler", that builds on the local drilling technology. By invoking complementary observations obtained in the same area and in other regions of Bangladesh, we postulate that local groundwater recharge throughout permeable sandy soils plays a major role in regulating the As content of shallow aquifers by diluting the flux of As released from reducing sediments. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Sp. Iss. SI016RXTimes Cited:0Cited References Count:21