• 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy investigations of iron oxidation states in the Harmattan dust nutrient contribution to West African soils

      Adetunji, Jacob; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2014-09-09)
      A variety of investigations have been carried out on Harmattan dust over many decades demonstrating the continuing importance of the Harmattan dust phenomenon. The investigations have included elemental enrichment factors, mineralogical nutrient input through dust deposition on the soil, meteorological studies, etc. Harmattan dust is important, not only for its impact on radio communication and low visibility in the shipping lanes over the Atlantic, but also on the livelihood and health of people living in countries over which the dust-laden Harmattan wind blows. However, so far, the aspect of nutrient mineral deposition on the soil has not been thoroughly investigated and requires attention, since the majority of people living in West Africa rely heavily on agriculture. It is therefore relevant to know the useful nutrients in the Harmattan dust deposited on soils of the region. This study is therefore aimed at determining the ferric-ferrous ratio of the iron-bearing minerals contained in the Harmattan dust, so their nutritional contribution can be considered. The Mössbauer technique is a powerful tool for studying the ferric-ferrous ratio and has therefore been used, for the first time, to determine the oxidation states of iron in the dust samples. The results of the analysis show that the Harmattan dust is seriously deficient in ferrous iron, which is the more soluble Fe-ion, needed in the soil for healthy crops and plants in general.