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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Kriging Method Evaluation for Assessing the Spatial Distribution of Urban Soil Lead Contamination


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 1576-1588
    Received: July 25, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): cattlej@epa.nsw.gov.au
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  1. Julie A. Cattle *,
  2. Alex. B. McBratney and
  3. Budiman Minasny
  1. Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, The Univ. of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia


Describing contaminant spatial distribution is an integral component of risk assessment. Application of geostatistical techniques for this purpose has been demonstrated previously. These techniques may provide both an estimate of the concentration at a given unsampled location, as well as the probability that the concentration at that location will exceed a critical threshold concentration. This research is a comparative study between multiple indicator kriging and kriging with the cumulative distribution function of order statistics, with both local and global variograms. The aim was to determine which of the four methods is best able to delineate between “contaminated” and “clean” soil. The four methods were validated with a subset of data values that were not used in the prediction. Method performance was assessed by calculating the root mean square error (RMSE), analysis of variance, the proportion of sites misclassified by each method as either “clean” when they were actually “contaminated” or vice versa, and the expected loss for each misclassification type. The data used for the comparison were 807 topsoil Pb concentrations from the inner-Sydney suburbs of Glebe and Camperdown, Australia. While there was very little difference between the four methods, multiple indicator kriging was found to produce the most accurate predictions for delineating “clean” from “contaminated” soil.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1576–1588.