Changlin Zhan1,2,3, Jiaquan Zhang 1, Junji Cao 2,3,4, Yongming Han2,3, Ping Wang2,3, Jingru Zheng1, Ruizhen Yao1, Hongxia Liu1, Hua Li3,5, Wensheng Xiao1

  • 1 School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Hubei Key Laboratory of Mine Environmental Pollution Control and Remediation, Hubei Polytechnic University, Huangshi, Hubei 435003, China
  • 2 State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology (SKLLQG), Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710061, China
  • 3 Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics (KLACP), Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710061, China
  • 4 Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China
  • 5 Emperor Qin's Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses Museum, Xi’an 710609, China

Received: October 9, 2015
Revised: January 14, 2016
Accepted: January 26, 2016
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Cite this article:
Zhan, C., Zhang, J., Cao, J., Han, Y., Wang, P., Zheng, J., Yao, R., Liu, H., Li, H. and Xiao, W. (2016). Characteristics and Sources of Black Carbon in Atmospheric Dustfall Particles from Huangshi, China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 16: 2096-2106.


  • The BC contents in dustfall were higher than those in world background soils.
  • The carbonaceous species measured were positively correlated with one another.
  • High levels of BC always found adjacent to the presumed emission sources.
  • Industrial dust related to coal use may be the major contributor to BC in dustfall.



Concentrations of carbonaceous particles in atmospheric dustfall particles in Huangshi, an industrial city in central China, were determined using a thermal-optical reflectance method. The black carbon (BC) contents in ninety-five dustfall samples ranged from 4.3 to 64.9 g kg–1 with an average of 17.0 g kg–1. These values were higher than those in world background soils and demonstrated serious contamination of the environment in this city. Overall, BC accounted for 17.6–71.3% (mean: 42.0%) of the organic carbon (OC), and BC and OC were positively correlated (r2 = 0.90). Average char and soot contents were 8.01 g kg–1 and 8.65 g kg–1, respectively, and char/soot ratios ranged from 0.28 to 1.97 with an average of 1.01. All the measured carbonaceous species positively correlated with each another, suggesting their common sources. BC, char, and soot showed large spatial distribution variability, with high levels of BC adjacent to the presumed emission sources, such as a power plant and railway line. Analyses of BC/OC and char/soot ratios indicate major impacts from fossil fuel combustion, especially motor vehicle emissions and coal combustion. Industrial dusts related to coal use appear to be the major contributor to BC in dustfall, and this is likely related to the extensive industrial activities in the city, including metal smelting.

Keywords: Black carbon; Dustfall; Char; Soot; Sources

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