[Distribution characteristic and current situation of soil rare earth contamination in the Bayan Obo mining area and Baotou tailing reservoir in Inner Mongolia].
The pollution status and distribution characteristic of rare earth elements in soil were analyzed around Bayan Obo mining area and Baotou tailing reservoir located in Inner Mongolia grassland ecosystem, aiming at grasping the overall situation of grassland ecosystem pollution caused by rare earth elements and providing basic information as well as theoretical basis. The results indicated that seven rare earth elements in soils from different directions of Baotou tailing reservoir accumulated to a certain extent compared to the soil background value of Inner Mongolia. The pollution degree was Ce > La > Nd > Pr > Sm > Y > Eu. Within 50 m from the edge of tailing reservoir, soil rare earth contamination was the most serious, with the concentrations of La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu and Y reaching 11,45.0 mg x kg(-1), 23,636.0 mg x kg(-1), 4568.16 mg x kg(-1) , 6855.51 mg x kg(-1), 582.18 mg x kg(-1), 94.21 mg x kg(-1)), and 136.25 mg x kg(-1), respectively. Owing to the dominant wind direction of northwest, soils from the southeast were contaminated most seriously. For Bayan Obo mining area, the concentrations of seven rare earth elements in soil from the mining area were significantly higher than those of other areas investigated, with the concentrations of La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu and Y reaching 3112.56 mg x kg(-1), 7142.12 mg x kg(-1), 1467.12 mg x kg(-1), 2552.80 mg x kg(-1), 210.80 mg x kg(-1), 36.20 mg x kg(-1) and 63.22 mg x kg(-1), respectively. The soils of six areas of Bayan Obo mining area were all contaminated by rare earth elements, and the contamination degree was in the order of mining area > outside the dump > east side of the railway > the dump > outside the urban area > west side of the railway. Besides, the transportation of rare earth ore led to the soil rare earth contamination along the railway, and the distribution characteristic of rare earth elements in soils along the railway was affected by the dominant wind direction of northwest. Baotou tailing reservoir and Bayan Obo mining area had the same contamination characteristic, and the concentrations of rare earth elements were in accordance with those in the tailings. The health and stabilization of local grassland ecosystem are being threatened by excessive soil rare earth elements.