The Daliao River System (DRS) estuary in Liaodong Bay features a highly industrial, urbanized, and agricultural catchment. The objective of this study was to determine the content, behavior, and distribution of the rare earth elements (REEs) in the estuarine and coastal sediments. To this end, 35 sediment samples were collected from the estuarine and coastal area and analyzed for REEs, Fe, Al, and Mn. The mean concentrations in mg kg-1 of the sediments were 33.4 (La), 64.1 (Ce), 7.9 (Pr), 29.0 (Nd), 5.4 (Sm), 1.2 (Eu), 4.2 (Gd), 0.78 (Tb), 4.0 (Dy), 0.84 (Ho), 2.3 (Er), 0.40 (Tm), 2.3 (Yb), and 0.37 (Lu). The REE concentrations in the sediments were significantly correlated with one another (r 2 = 0.959-0.988) and the concentrations of Fe, Al, and Mn (r 2 = 0.768-0.870). The total concentration ΣREE ranged from 73.5 to 203.5 mg kg-1, with an average of 156.0 mg kg-1 being observed, and generally higher in the estuarine sediments than in the coastal sediments, most likely due to the salt-induced coagulation of river colloids and subsequently their accumulation at the estuarine bottom. The ratio of light REEs (ΣLREE) to heavy REEs (ΣHREE) was 9.4. Chondrite-normalized REE distributions were observed to be similar for the estuarine and coastal sediments, riverine suspended particles, and watershed soils of the DRS with higher LRRE enrichment than HREE and greater Eu depletion than Ce depletion. These results demonstrate that neither geochemical processes that carry soils to estuarine sediments nor long-term industrial and agricultural activities alter the distribution or fractionation of the REEs in the study area.
- Rare earth element