SEGH Articles

SEGH 2020 Geochemistry for Sustainable Development

18 November 2019
SEGH is pleased to invite you to the 36th international conference from the 6-10th July 2020 in Eldoret, Kenya with the theme of Geochemistry for Sustainable Development.

An exponential growth of interest in Africa could see a quick rise in growth of SEGH memberships and activities owing to the need for multi-disciplinary research and connectivity between research challenges and in particular need to address the United Nations Strategic Development Goals (SDGs). The first SEGH international conference in Africa alongside Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia attracted large numbers of new members and interest in creating multi-disciplinary networks, particularly following the creation of an African regional group. To consolidate on this progress a second conference will aim to strengthen the presence of SEGH in Africa, a region that is rapidly developing for which its growing economic activities are centred on exploitation of natural resources through intensification of agriculture and fisheries, mineral extraction, rapid population growth and a predicted shift from rural to urban living over the next 50 years.  Such development can benefit from the ability of SEGH community to undertake research across disciplines to inform sustainable development.

Eldoret is a fast growing city with many world standard Hotel venues for conferences. Its climate and security are highly predictable and suitable for persons drawn from different climatic zones. Lying at 2300m above sea level it has a mostly balmy warm climate, safe and peaceful. It has good international air links from within and beyond Africa. It is a renowned home of the World’s best long distance runners and a home of two key National Universities (University of Eldoret and Moi University) and a number of tertiary level colleges, hence is a fairly young town. It is surrounded by a number of key tourist attractions for day trips including the Kakamega Tropical Rain Forest, the iconic Rift valley, Mount Elgon National park famous for the Kitum Cave elephants and Bogoria hot springs – a sanctuary for birds especially the pink flamingos.

The themes of the 36th International conference will be:

Urban & Industrial development

Agriculture & Fisheries



The Boma Inn will provide the conference venue for oral and poster presentations, alongside exhibitors and sponsors from the 6-8th July.  The venue is owned by the Red Cross and will provide a professional venue for all activities, similar to the experience for those who attended in Zambia. Poster presentations will include a flash presentation as for the last two conferences, but with a twist.  For 2020, rather than 90 seconds they will last for 1 minute 59 seconds in recognition of the human endeavour to break the 2 hour marathon record.  Oral presentations will largely comprise of 12 minutes + 3 minutes for questions.  We ask interested delegates to start planning their abstracts and will aim for an earlier abstract deadline towards the end of January 2020 to allow for delegates to seek permission to attend and visa authorisation. 

Training day – on the 9th July we will host a training day at the University of Eldoret and anticipate some of the courses to include QGIS, R for statistics, Quality Assurance for laboratories, how to write/review a paper along with other topics to be confirmed. 

Field Trip – on the 10th July, the field trip will take in the Artisanal Gold Mining operation in Kakamega to view the operations and challenges facing miners and their families.  This will be followed by a trip through the Kakamega rainforest towards the tea estates of Nandi Hills and back to Eldoret.

Additional information about the conference will be released in the coming weeks and a website is in preparation for the submission of abstracts and registration.  We will provide more information regarding travel options and potential leisure activities for those who wish to take a holiday whilst in Kenya.  A number of hotel options exist within 1-2km of the conference venue, for which transport will be provided each day to the venue.  Prices range from $30-40 per night for budget options (Palmers), $40-80 per night for mid-budget (greatest number of rooms – Club Eldoret, Poa Place Resort, Noble Resort, Kenmosa Resort) and at the conference venue itself $120-150 per night (Boma Inn).  We will negotiate further discounts for the conference.

We aim to charge $250 for African and student delegates and $500 for all others, but will confirm costs in the coming weeks.  We aim to include cocktail drinks and snacks on the conference days for poster sessions in the evenings, as well as a conference dinner for 6-8th July within the delegate cost.  Subject to sponsorship, we are also aiming to include the field trip within the same cost and will provide the training day free of cost. More details on the conference themes, guides for the posters and presentations and logistics will be provided in a short while.

Conference lead

Professor Odipo Osano, University of Eldoret

Assisted by:

Conference Organising Committee

Dr Lydia Olaka, University of Nairobi

Dr Diana Menya, Moi University

Dr Chris Aura, Kenya Ministry for Fisheries Research Institute

Dr Michael Watts, British Geological Survey (President SEGH)

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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.