Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Jorquera H. (2009)

Source apportionment of PM10 and PM2.5 at Tocopilla. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-008-0352-0

Revista : Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Volumen : 153
Número : 1-4
Páginas : 235-251
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Tocopilla is located on the coast of Northern Chile, within an arid region that extends from 30° S to the border with Perú. The major industrial activities are related to the copper mining industry. A measurement campaign was conducted during March and April 2006 to determine ambient PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in the city. The results showed significantly higher PM10 concentrations in the southern part of the city (117 ug/m3) compared with 79 and 80 (ug/m3) in the central and northern sites. By contrast, ambient PM2.5 concentrations had a more uniform spatial distribution across the city,
around 20 (ug/m3). In order to conduct a source apportionment, daily PM10 and PM2.5 samples were analyzed for elements by XRF. EPA’s Positive Matrix Factorization software was used to interpret the results of the chemical compositions. The major source contributing to PM2.5 at sites 1, 2 and 3, respectively are: (a) sulfates, with ~50% of PM2.5 concentrations at the three sites; (b) fugitive emissions from fertilizer storage and handling, with 16%, 21%
and 10%; (c) Coal and residual oil combustion, with 15%, 15% and 4%; (d) Sea salt, 5%, 6% and 16%; (e) Copper ore processing, 4%, 5% and 15%; and (f ) a mixed dust source with 11%, 7% and 4%. Results for PM10—at sites 1, 2 and 3, respectively show that the major contributors are: (a) sea salt source with 36%, 32% and 36% of the PM10 concentration; (b) copper processing emissions mixed with airborne soil dust with 6.6%, 11.5% and 41%;
(c) sulfates with 31%, 31% and 12%; (d) a mixed dust source with 16%, 12% and 10%, and (e) the fertilizer stockpile emissions, with 11%, 14% and 2% of the PM10 concentration. The high natural background of PM10 implies that major reductions in anthropogenic
emissions of PM10 and SO2 would be required to attain ambient air quality standards for PM10; those reductions would curb down ambient PM2.5 concentrations as well.