cover

Agricultural Soils in Northern Europe

A Geochemical Atlas

Ed.: Clemens Reimann; Ulrich Siewers; Timo Tarvainen; Liidia Bityukova; Jan Eriksson; Aivars Giucis; Virgilija Gregorauskiene; Valentin K. Lukashev; Natalia N. Matinian; Anna Pasieczna

[Baltic Soil Survey]

2003. 279 pages, Numerous figures and tables (coloured) and 1 CD-ROM, 21x30cm, 1230 g
Language: English

(Sonderhefte Reihe D - Geol. Jahrb., Heft 5)

ISBN 978-3-510-95906-8, bound, price: 98.00 €

in stock and ready to ship

Order form

BibTeX file

Keywords

soilssoil chemistrytrace elementsoil mappingenvironmental geochemistrypedologyagriculture

Contents

Synopsis top ↑

Soil protection is a challenge for the new Millennium. Background information on the natural and human-influenced chemical composition of soils is urgently needed. This atlas, result of the Baltic Soil Survey, shows the distribution of over 40 elements in agricultural soils from 10 countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. Topsoil (0-25 cm) and bottom soil (50-75 cm) samples from 750 sites were analysed by up to four methods giving bioavailable and total element concentrations.

Geological history is one of the key factors controlling the distribution of nutrients and potentially harmful elements in soils. Either the composition of bedrock is reflected in the element concentrations, or the evolution of Quaternary sediments defines the composition of soil parent material. Climate (e.g., precipitation and temperature), input of marine aerosols, differences in local topography, age of the soil, land use changes, agricultural practice and pollution can all have an influence on the element concentrations in soils. Comparison of element levels in soils from a very large area (1,800,000 square km), collected from two sample depths and analysed with up to four analytical methods, allows a better understanding of the relative importance of a multitude of processes on the chemical composition of agricultural soils.

Rev.: CABI Abstracts top ↑

During 1996 and 1997, agricultural soils from ten northern European countries (western Belarus, Estonia, Finland, northern Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, northwestern Russia, and Sweden) were collected from the Ap- and Be/C-horizon at about 750 sites. The sample sites were evenly spread over a 1 800 000 km2-area, giving an average sample density of one site/2500 km2 The <2 mm-fractions (Poland: <1 mm) of all 1500 samples were analysed for up to 62 chemical elements following ammonium acetate-, aqua regia- and HF-extractions and for total element concentrations by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF). Electrical conductivity and pH (water extraction) and loss on ignition (LOI, 1030 oC) were determined as additional parameters. Individual methods were applied to all the samples in one laboratory only. When mapping the analytical results, even given the unusual low sample density, regional-scale geochemical patterns emerge for all elements. These patterns show the influence of such factors as geology, agriculture, pollution, topography, input of marine aerosols and climate. On a regional scale, secondary processes appear to have the largest impact on the measured element concentrations in the soils. Industrial pollution is seen as a local process, reaching no further than 100-200 km from any source. In contrast, traffic-related pollution affects much larger areas. For all elements, natural variation in concentration ranges from 2 to 4 orders of magnitude. The highest values for many elements are observed in the three Nordic countries of Finland, Norway, and Sweden. This may be related to climate, but also to the age and higher organic content of the soils in these countries, resulting in lower pH-values. Highest values for many heavy metals are observed in Sweden, and the source appears to be natural. Differences in the observed element concentrations of the TOP- and BOTTOM-layers (Ap- and B/C- horizon, respectively) are very small for most elements. Nine elements and LOI are, however, generally enriched in the TOP-layer throughout the survey area as follows: S (4x) - Cd - P - LOI - Se - Pb - Zn - Bi - Sb - Mn (1.2 x). This enrichment can be linked to natural processes for all these elements, and superimposed anthropogenic input is only observed locally. Differences in availability of elements expressed as percentages of total concentrations are large from element to element and often also from country to country. Results from different extractions are useful in the interpretation of results. The results point to many important topics for further research.

CABI Abstracts

Rev.: Environmental Geology vol. 45, no. 4, February 2004 top ↑

Just a few years ago, an outstanding environmental geochemical atlas (Environmental Geochemical Atlas of the Central Barents Region) was published as a result of the joint activities of the Norwegian Geological Survey (NGU), the Finnish Geological Survey (GTK), and the Russian Central Kola Expedition (CKE). It had been the first time ever that a true multi-media (water, soils, plants, bedrock, etc.) and enormous multi-element regional mapping project had been successfully executed and it demonstrated the power of this approach to the scientific world. An amazing number of fine papers in reputable journals have resulted and there is no end in sight to their publications.

Agricultural soils in northern Europe: a geochemical atlas reflects a similar approach and yet very different ­ the result of the Baltic Soil Survey and part of IGCP259. Working groups at most European geological surveys around the Baltic Sea (BH, EE, FI, DE, LV, LT, NO, PL, RU, SE) have joined forces to map agricultural soils. This collaborative work of U. Siewers, T. Tarvainen, L. Bityukova, J. Eriksson, A. Gilucis, V. Gregorauskiene, V.K. Lukashev, N.N. Matinian, A. Pasieczna and C. Reimann has examined topsoil (Ap-horizon) and lower soils horizons (B-/C) at about 750 sites (1500 samples) over an area of 1,800,000 km2 ­ an average density of one site per 2,500 km2. These samples have been prepared and analyzed for up to 62 chemical elements with partly overlapping techniques (GF-AAS, ICP- OES, ICP-MS, XRF) and extraction procedures (HF, aqua regia, NH4Ac) under strict and well documented quality control.

Despite this rather low sample density, it does very clearly demonstrate the capacity and effectiveness of regional geochemical mapping. As the major result, the reader may delve into the alphabetically ordered maps and statistical information ­ from aluminum (Al) to zirconium (Zr) ­ as well as information on pH and LOI at 1030°C. As well stated in the foreword by Arne Bjrlykke, Raimo Matikainen and Friedrich-Wilhelm Wellmer (the three director generals/presidents of the geological surveys of Norway, Finland and Germany, respectively), this work does deliver not only interesting results, but very exciting and challenging ones. Other than the heritance of geological history, we need to consider climatic, marine, land-use influences apart from the rather well-known and recent anthropogenic activities when trying to understand and interpret the presented results. Why for instance, do As, Cs, Sb, and Te form an unusual joint anomaly over central Scandinavia and around the Bothnian Bay? Why does Pb seem to correlate a lot better with lithology than with traffic networks and industrial Pb-sources? Why do U and Th seem to be related to agricultural practice and soil type, but not to lithology? Why should Zr inversely correlate perfectly with elevation in both soil layers? The emerging patterns challenge lots of perceptions and yet are so convincing in their statistical robustness and spatial coherence ­ food for thought and many future papers.

To help better understand the presented data, the authors have supplied ­ following a description of the projects philosophy ­ a fine introduction (including maps) on geography and topography, climate and geology (lithology), soil distribution, mineral occurrences and mining activities, vegetation, industry, and agriculture. This 20-page overview is followed by another 30 pages of concise method description (from sampling to quality control), data analysis and mapping. 190 pages provide element-by-element display, a short discussion featuring a general description of the respective element and typical concentrations for comparison, plus the descriptive statistics for each element and a brief interpretation. The last 40 pages are dedicated to a summary discussion and outlook, a helpful reference list, and a substantial appendix with the data tables (similar format to the Atlas of the Central Barents Region). Included with the Atlas is a CD-ROM containing all data files, maps, and graphics for all, plus additional elements and extractions not displayed in print. Although in my copy, the hyperlinks to the PDF-information did not work, it was always possible to manually open the respective file and access all information.

More often than not, in our days of dwindling budgets, state institutions like geological surveys are seen as superflu- ous agencies eating up tax-payers' money and busily administering them- selves. A strong argument to support geological survey work is reinforced by taking a second look at this new atlas. From the planning of the sampling to its analysis, all data for this work have been gathered in the years 1996 and 1997. Further analysis, data interpretation and display were done in the subsequent years. The whole workload was shouldered by 35 people in 10 countries and the total project was organized in a rather non-bureaucratic and extremely engaged manner. Comparing this with other multinational research projects, it is quickly clear that this is not only an excellent value for money but a stunning database that not only contributes to our understanding of regional geochemistry, but provides a key to process evaluation and testing.

The accessibility of information in this database is a tremendous contribution. Both the printed atlas and CD-ROM provide university teachers and researchers with an enormous information source for their work in environmental geochemistry and GIS-based geomatics. This geochemical atlas, Agricultural soils in northern Europe, is required reading for not only geochemists but also for any professional interested in agriculture, in the natural and human-influenced variability of elements in that medium, and in a deeper understanding of the processes that determine element distribution on terrestrial ecosystems. Congratulations to the authors and agencies.

International Journal of Geosciences
Environmental Geology vol. 45, no. 4, February 2004
Springer Verlag

Review: JSS ­ J Soils & Sediments 3 (4) 292 (2003 top ↑

Just a few years ago, an outstanding environmental geochemical atlas was published as a result of the joint activities of the Norwegian Geological Survey (NGU), the Finnish Geological Survey (GTK), and the Russian Central Kola Expedition (CKE) [Reimann et al. (1998): Environmental Geochemical Atlas of the Central Barents Region]. For the first time ever, a true multi-media (water, soils, plants, bedrock, etc.), and multi-element regional mapping project was performed and demonstrated the power of this approach to the scientific world. Until today, an amazing number of fine papers have been published in reputable journals and there is no end in sight. In contrast to this enormous scientific production and success, the sales numbers of that (low price = US$ 60) atlas are rather disillusioning.

With that experience in mind, I open the above cited publication. A similar approach, yet very different, and the result of the Baltic Soil Survey (BSS) as it is known to some in the community, and part of IGCP259. Groups from six geological surveys, two university institutes, and two Academy of Science Research institutes of most European countries around the Baltic Sea (BH, EE, FI, DE, LV, LT, NO, PL, RU, SE) have joined forces to map agricultural soils ­ divided into topsoil (Ap-horizon) and lower-soil horizon (B-/C) at about 750 sites (= 1500 samples) over an area of 1,800,000 km2 ­ an average density of one site per 2,500 km2. These samples have been prepared and analyzed for up to 62 chemical elements with partly overlapping techniques (GF-AAS, ICP-OES, ICP-MS, XRF) and extraction procedures (HF, aqua regia, NH4Ac) under strict and well documented quality control. Unlike the reasoning of many arguments, this rather low-sample density does very clearly demonstrate the capacity and power of regional geochemical mapping. As the major result, the reader may delve into the alphabetically ordered maps and statistical information, starting with aluminum (Al), and ending with zirconium (Zr), plus pH and LOI at 1030°C. As well said in the foreword by Arne Bjørlykke, Raimo Matikainen and FriedrichWilhelm Wellmer ­ the three director generals/presidents of the geological surveys of Norway, Finland and Germany ­ this work does not only deliver interesting but also very exciting and challenging results. Other than the heritance of geological history, we need to consider climatic, marine, land-use influences apart from the rather well-known and recent anthropogenic activities when trying to understand and interpret the presented results. Why, for instance, do As, Cs, Sb, and Te form an unusual joint anomaly over central Scandinavia and around the Bothnian Bay, an anomaly that follows the position of the last continental ice mass? Why does Pb seem to correlate a lot better with lithology than with traffic networks and industrial Pb-sources? Why do U and Th seem to be related to agricultural practice and soil type, but not to lithology? Why should Zr inversely correlate perfectly with elevation in both soil layers? The emerging patterns challenge lots of perceptions and yet are so convincing in their statistical robustness and spatial coherence ­ food for thought and many future papers.

To help better understand the presented data, the authors have supplied ­ following a description of the project's philosophy ­ a fine introduction (including maps) on geography and topography, climate and geology (lithology), soil distribution, mineral occurrences and mining activities, vegetation, industry, and agriculture. This 20-page start is followed by another 30 pages of concise method description (from sampling to quality control) and data analysis and mapping.

190 pages of element by element display and short discussions follow, each featuring a general description of the respective element and 'typical' concentrations for comparison, plus the descriptive statistics for each element and a brief interpretation. The last 40 pages are dedicated to a summary discussion and outlook, a helpful reference list, and a substantial appendix with the data tables (similar format to the Kola atlas). The attached CD-ROM contains all data files, maps, and graphics for all plus additional elements and extractions not displayed in the atlas. This refers to elements that delivered data sets with too many values below the limit of determination. Still, there are missing data that would have been valuable and interesting, e.g., values for total C and N, to better be able to assess the organic soil compounds, or even a differentiation of total C and Corg. Although in my copy the hyperlinks to the pdf-information did not work, it was always possible to manually open the respective file and access all information.

More often than not, in our days of dwindling resources, state institutions like geological surveys are seen as rather superfluous agencies that eat up tax-payers money and are mostly busy administering themselves. If any argument is needed to strongly turn down that argument, I suggest taking a second look at this new atlas. All data for this work have been gathered ­ from planning over sampling to analysis in the years 1996 and 1997. Further analysis, data interpretation and display were done in the subsequent years. The whole work load was shouldered by 35 people in 10 countries, and the project was run in a very nonbureaucratic manner. The reader might like to compare this with other multi-national research projects and will quickly recognize that this is not only an excellent value for money; it is rather a stunning database for a better understanding of regional geochemistry and a key to process evaluation and testing. As a university researcher and teacher, I also highly appreciate the open display of the database that allows for innumerable hours of course material, e.g., in environmental geochemistry ­ and GIS-based geomatics courses.

To sum up, this atlas is a Must Read for anybody interested in geochemistry and agriculture as well as in the natural and maninfluenced variability of elements in that medium - and finally in a deeper understanding of the processes that determine element distribution on terrestrial ecosystems. Congratulations to authors and agencies!

Jörg Matschullat Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, November 2003
JSS ­ J Soils & Sediments 3 (4) 292 (2003)

Contents top ↑

1 Introduction
1.1 The concept for the Baltic Soil Survey (BSS-Project)
1.2 Project background
2 General information and maps from the survey area
2.1 Geography, topography
2.2 Climate
2.3 Geology / quaternary geology
2.4 Soils
2.5 Mineral occurrences and mining
2.6 Vegetation
2.7 Industry
2.8 Agriculture
3 Methods
3.1 Sampling
3.1.1 Sampling strategy
3.1.2 Field sampling
3.2 Sample preparation
3.3 Analyses
3.3.1 XRF (total concentrations) - BGR
3.3.2 HF-extraction - GTK
3.3.3 Aqua regia extraction - GTK
3.3.4 Ammonium acetate extraction - NGU
3.3.5 pH and electrical conductivity - NGU
3.4 Quality control
3.4.1 Sample randomisation
3.4.2 Insertion of project standard and analytical duplicates
3.4.3 Use of results: project standard
3.4.4 Use of results: duplicates
3.4.5 Results of quality control
3.4.6 Comparison of results from different laboratories
3.4.7 Comparison of results via mapping
3.4.8 Comparison of results from the different countries
3.4.9 Summary of quality control results
4 Data analysis and mapping
4.1 Treatment of data below the detection limit
4.2 Boxplots
4.3 Other graphical plots summarising data behaviour
4.4 XY Diagrams
4.5 Correlation analyses
4.6 Mapping
4.6.1 Black-and-white point-source-maps
4.6.2 Colour maps
5 General information
6 Element maps
6.1 Al - Aluminium
6.2 As - Arsenic
6.3 Ba - Barium
6.4 Be - Beryllium
6.5 Bi - Bismuth
6.6 Ca - Calcium
6.7 Cd - Cadmium
6.8 Ce - Cerium
6.9 Co - Cobalt
6.10 Cr - Chromium
6.11 Cs - Cesium
6.12 Cu - Copper
6.13 Fe - Iron
6.14 Ga - Gallium
6.15 Ge - Germanium
6.16 K - Potassium
6.17 La - Lanthanum
6.18 LOI - Loss on Ignition
6.19 Mg - Magnesium
6.20 Mn - Manganese
6.21 Mo - Molybdenum
6.22 Na - Sodium
6.23 Nb - Niobium
6.24 Ni - Nickel
6.25 P - Phosphorus
6.26 Pb - Lead
6.27 pH - Acidity
6.28 Rb - Rubidium
6.29 S - Sulphur
6.30 Sb - Antimony
6.31 Sc - Scandium
6.32 Se - Selenium
6.33 Si - Silicon
6.34 Sn - Tin
6.35 Sr - Strontium
6.36 Ta - Tantalum
6.37 Te - Tellurium
6.38 Th - Thorium
6.39 Ti - Titanium
6.40 Tl - Thallium
6.41 U - Uranium
6.42 V - Vanadium
6.43 Y - Yttrium
6.44 Zn - Zinc
6.45 Zr - Zirconium
7 Summary and Conclusions
8 Outlook
9 Acknowledgements
10 References
11 Appendix:
Data Tables

top ↑

This new atlas provides background information on the natural and human-influenced (anthropogenic) chemical composition of soils is urgently needed. It depicts the distribution of more than 40 elements in agricultural soils from 10 countries (Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden) of the Baltic Sea rim. The volume provides the analyses of topsoil (0-25 cm) and bottom soil (50-75 cm) samples from 750 sites, which analysed by up to four methods for bioavailable and total element concentrations.