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This paper examines the role of parent rock, pedogenetic processes and airborne pollution in heavy metal accumulation in soils from a remote oceanic island, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. We studied five soil profiles developed from different volcanic rocks. Mineralogical composition and total concentrations of major and trace elements were determined in 43 samples. The obtained concentrations range for heavy metals were: Co: 26-261 ppm; Cu: 35-97 ppm; Cr: 350-1446 ppm; Ni: 114-691 ppm; Zn:doi:10.1590/s0001-37652011005000042 fatcat:72medyiuvjf2nk42rl5sgamqlq