First Report of Rare Earth Elements and Other Chemical Elements in Sediments of Rivers throughout Chile

José E. Celis, Winfred Espejo, Gustavo Chiang, Christopher A. Celis, Paulina Bahamonde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The increase in demand for emerging technologies has also increased the presence of rare earth elements and other lesser-known elements in the environment that were previously stable in the earth’s crust. The aim of this study was to determine the current status of five rare earth elements such as cerium (Ce), lanthanum (La), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr) and yttrium (Y), and barium (Ba), niobium (Nb), rubidium (Rb), thorium (th) and zirconium (Zr), in superficial sediments from rivers of northern, central and southern Chile. Data showed that the order of abundance of elements in the river sediments was Ba > Nd > Pr > La > Ce > Zr > Rb > Y > Th > Nb. We found higher Ba, Ce, La, Nd and Pr contents in northern and central Chile. Our findings showed that probably these chemical elements are adsorbed into sediments, which could facilitate remobilization to the water column, thus being more bioavailable to biota. Considering that rivers of northern and central Chile are usually used for human consumption and irrigation purposes, further studies to understand the processes involved in the recycling of elements in the watersheds are necessary. Our results may serve as a basis for environmental impact studies that are required by the Chilean legislation before any productive investment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4061-4069
Number of pages9
JournalPolish Journal of Environmental Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • emerging technologies
  • freshwater ecosystem
  • rare earth elements
  • river
  • sediments
  • trace elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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