SEGH Articles

34th SEGH International Conference on Geochemistry for Sustainable Development

26 November 2017
AVANI Victoria Falls Resort, Livingstone, Zambia 2-7th July 2018. Registrations now open.

We cordially invite SEGH members and new friends to join the SEGH 2018 conference next to Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia. Please view the conference website for details .

These are exciting times for African development across many sectors, including rapid technological advancement in I.T. and communications, Agriculture, Public Health, Mining and infrastructure development, alongside rapid urbanisation.  The scientific fields represented by SEGH are presented with challenges/opportunities to provide scientific information to the general public, government, industry and donor stakeholders.  The 34th SEGH International Conference is therefore organised around four themes under the banner of ‘Geochemistry for Sustainable Development’:

Theme 1. Industrial and Urban Development

Theme 2. Agriculture

Theme 3. Health

Theme 4. Technologies

More information around these themes can be found on the conference webpage.

You will find additional information about the conference venue, location, how to get to Livingstone, surrounding town and opportunities for experiencing the natural wonder of Victoria Falls.  In addition, we have posted some information on suggestions for local accommodation for a range of budgets to which we will keep you updated as we confirm discounts with local accommodation via:, twitter on @SocEGH, @segh2018, updates and member emails.  On the conference website you will find information for registration and submission of abstracts.  Delegate payments will be handled in two ways.  Zambian nationals and sponsors to pay via the Zambian online shop, international delegates and sponsors to pay via the International online shop which will connect to the SEGH secure payment function using SagePay. Bank transfers can be made on request.

Sponsors and exhibitors are very welcome to support the conference and enrich the meeting by showcasing their capabilities.  This conference presents a unique opportunity to reach a number of delegates from across the world and African region, spanning multi-disciplinary science as shown by the themes, drawn from academia, government agencies, NGOs and industry.

We have formulated a comprehensive social programme including the ice-breaker-registration, two poster evenings, each with drinks, food and music and the conference dinner (Boma) which will be held on the banks of the Zambezi in site of the edge of Victoria Falls. A braai (barbecue) will be provided at the Boma along with entertainment including traditional dancing and music. With support from sponsors, we aim to keep these costs within the registration fee.  See

July 3-5th will comprise of conference presentations, whilst the 6th July will be offered to delegates as a free training day.  Details are shown on the conference website, please feel free to suggest other ideas or volunteer to run small working groups. On the 7th July will be a field trip to visit an African cultural centre, Agricultural research station and finish with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi.  We just ask for a contribution to the lunch on the fieldtrip and payment for the cruise, which includes a buffet and drinks.

Registrations are now open. We look forward to seeing you beside the Victoria Falls known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, in Livingstone, Zambia.

By Michael Watts, Moola Mutondo, Kenneth Maseka and Godfrey Sakala

Chair of organising committee

Prof. Kenneth Maseka, Copperbelt University

Organising committee

Dr Michael Watts, British Geological Survey

Dr Moola Mutondo, Copperbelt University

Dr Godfrey Sakala, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute


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Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Geophagy among East African Chimpanzees: consumed soils provide protection from plant secondary compounds and bioavailable iron 2019-12-01


    Geophagy, the intentional consumption of earth materials, has been recorded in humans and other animals. It has been hypothesized that geophagy is an adaptive behavior, and that clay minerals commonly found in eaten soil can provide protection from toxins and/or supplement micronutrients. To test these hypotheses, we monitored chimpanzee geophagy using camera traps in four permanent sites at the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda, from October 2015–October 2016. We also collected plants, and soil chimpanzees were observed eating. We analyzed 10 plant and 45 soil samples to characterize geophagic behavior and geophagic soil and determine (1) whether micronutrients are available from the soil under physiological conditions and if iron is bioavailable, (2) the concentration of phenolic compounds in plants, and (3) if consumed soils are able to adsorb these phenolics. Chimpanzees ate soil and drank clay-infused water containing 1:1 and 2:1 clay minerals and > 30% sand. Under physiological conditions, the soils released calcium, iron, and magnesium. In vitro Caco-2 experiments found that five times more iron was bioavailable from three of four soil samples found at the base of trees. Plant samples contained approximately 60 μg/mg gallic acid equivalent. Soil from one site contained 10 times more 2:1 clay minerals, which were better at removing phenolics present in their diet. We suggest that geophagy may provide bioavailable iron and protection from phenolics, which have increased in plants over the last 20 years. In summary, geophagy within the Sonso community is multifunctional and may be an important self-medicative behavior.

  • Accumulation of uranium and heavy metals in the soil–plant system in Xiazhuang uranium ore field, Guangdong Province, China 2019-12-01


    Plants that have grown for many years in the special environmental conditions prevailing in mining areas are naturally screened and show strong capacity to adapt to their environment. The present study investigated the enrichment characteristics of U and other heavy metals (As, Cu, Pb, Mn, Mo, Zn, Cd, Co, and Ni) in the soil–plant system in Xiazhuang uranium mine. Four dominant plants (Castanopsis carlesii, Rhus chinensis, Liriodendron chinense, and Sapium discolor) and soil samples were collected from the mined areas, unmined areas, and background areas away from the ore field. U, As, Cu, Pb, Mn, Mo, Zn, Cd, Co, and Ni concentrations were analyzed by ICP-MS. The results demonstrate that (1) The highest concentrations of U (4.1–206.9 mg/kg) and Pb (43.3–126.0 mg/kg) with the geoaccumulation index (Igeo) greater than 1 show that they are the main soil pollutants in the research area. (2) The biological accumulation coefficient (LBAC) values for Cd, Mn, and Cu are greater than zero in S. discolor, L. chinense, and C. carlesii and these three plants indicate that they can be used for remediation of the soil in the ore field. (3) R. chinensis inhibits the accumulation of heavy metals and shows sensitive pigment responses to the accumulation of U in the leaves. L. chinense has the strongest enrichment effect on heavy metals but exhibits weak biochemical responses under U stress. C. carlesii demonstrates strong adaptation to U and can maintain healthy pigment characteristics in case of high U enrichment. (4) S. discolor, L. chinense, C. carlesii and R. chinensis have strong tolerance to U toxicity and different biochemical responses.

  • Distribution, sources and health risk assessment of contaminations in water of urban park: A case study in Northeast China 2019-12-01


    This case study was performed to determine whether the pollutants in water of urban park could bring health risk to human engaging in water-related activities such as swimming and provide evidence demonstrating the critical need for strengthened recreational water resources management of urban park. TN, NH4+-N, TP, Cu, Mn, Zn, Se, Pb, As, Cd and Cr(VI) contents were determined to describe the spatial distribution of contaminations; sources apportionment with the method of correlation analysis, factor analysis and cluster analysis were followed by health risk assessment for swimmers of different age groups. The results reveal that element contents in all sites do not exceed Chinese standard for swimming area and European Commission standard for surface water; all detected elements except Cr(VI) have a tendency to accumulate in the location of lake crossing bridge; Mn and Zn are considered to have the same pollution source including geogenic and anthropogenic sources by multivariable analysis. Carcinogenic risks of different age groups descend in the same order with non-carcinogenic risks. Among all elements, Zn and Mn contribute the lowest non-carcinogenic risk (5.1940E-06) and the highest non-carcinogenic risk (7.9921E-04) through skin contact pathway, respectively. The total average personal risk for swimmers in swimming area is 1.9693E-03, and this site is not suitable for swimming. Overall, it is possible that swimmers are exposed to risk via the dermal route when carrying out water-related activities, it is recommended that necessary precautions and management should be taken in other similar locations around the world.