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Geochemical mapping of agricultural soils and grazing land (GEMAS) in Norway, Finland and Sweden - regional report

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... In Czech Republic, the In anomaly is related to mineralisation with sphalerite (Kutná Hora). The highest In values (Ap-soil: mineralisation types (Pb–Zn, Cu, Ag, W), but also to secondary In enrichment in marine clay-rich deposits covering the vast areas around Lake Mälaren (Fig. 5; Ladenberger et al., 2013). In Finland, high In concentrations occur in the southern part of the country and they are a result of the presence of In-bearing, vein-type polymetallic sulphide mineralisation within the rapakivi granite (Cook et al., 2011b; Valkama et al., 2013), and the occurrence of In-enriched clay-rich soil (anomaly 3 inFig. ...
... This is also the reason that the Slovenian median value is high; most of Slovenian GEMAS samples were taken on carbonate rocks. affinity is not straightforward at the continental-scale pattern of the GEMAS project, it is obvious on the local scale (e.g., in Northern Europe, covered by clay-rich glacial deposits) where secondary enrichment of In occurs in clayey soil and soil overlying fine-grained sediments (Fig. 5), e.g., so-called Central Scandinavian Clay Belt (CSCB) recognised in central Sweden and southern Finland (Ladenberger et al., 2013). The strong positive correlation of In with Al and K confirms this phenomenon (Fig. 6B & C). ...
Article
Indium is a very rare element, which is usually not reported in geochemical data sets. It is classified as a critical metal, with important applications in the electronics industry, especially in the production of solar panels and liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). Over 4000 samples of agricultural and grazing land soil have been collected for the “Geochemical Mapping of Agricultural and Grazing Land Soil of Europe” (GEMAS) project, carried out by the EuroGeoSurveys Geochemistry Expert Group. Indium concentrations in soil have been analysed using aqua regia extraction followed by ICP-MS. Median values of In for both land use types are nearly identical, 0.0176 mg/kg for agricultural soil and 0.0177 mg/kg for grazing land soil. The spatial distribution patterns of In in European soil are mainly controlled by geology and the presence of Zn and Sn mineralisation. The preference of In to accumulate in the fine-grained fraction of soil with high clay content dominates themajor anomaly patterns on the geochemicalmaps. In theMediterranean region, secondary In enrichment is visible in karst areas. A notable feature of the In spatial distribution is the large difference between northern and southern Europe, with median values of 0.012 and 0.021 mg In/kg, respectively, suggesting that, in addition to lithology, weathering and climate are important factors influencing In soil enrichment over time.
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The demand for ‘high-tech’ element resources (e.g., rare earth elements, lithium, platinum group elements) has increased with their continued consumption in developed countries and the emergence of developing economies. To provide a sound knowledge base for future generations, it is necessary to identify the spatial distribution of critical elements at a broad-scale, and to delineate areas for follow-up surveys. Subsequently, this knowledge can be used to study possible environmental consequences of the increased use of these resources. In this paper, three critical industrial elements (Sb, W, Li) from low-sampling density geochemical mapping at the continental-scale are presented. The geochemical distribution and spatial patterns have been obtained from agricultural soil samples (Ap-horizon, 0–20 cm; N = 2108 samples) collected at a density of 1 site per 2500 km² and analysed by ICP-MS after a hot aqua regia digestion as part of the GEMAS (GEochemical Mapping of Agricultural and grazing land Soil) soil-mapping project in 33 European countries. Most of the geochemical maps show exclusively natural background element concentrations with minor, or without, anthropogenic influence. The maximum extent of the last glaciation is marked as a discrete element concentration break, and a distinct difference occurs in element concentration levels between the soil of northern and southern Europe, most likely an effect of soil genesis, age and weathering. The Sb, W and Li concentrations in soil provide a general overview of element spatial distribution in relation to complexity of the underlying bedrock and element mobility in the surface environment at the continental-scale. The chemical composition of agricultural soil represents largely the primary mineralogy of the source bedrock, the effects of pre- and post-depositional chemical weathering, formation of secondary products, such as clays, and element mobility, either by leaching or mineral sorting. Observed geochemical patterns of Li, W and Sb can be often linked with known mineralisation as recorded in the ProMine Mineral Database, where elements in question occur either as main or secondary resources. Anthropogenic impact has only been identified locally, predominantly in the vicinity of large urban agglomerations. Unexplained high element concentrations may potentially indicate new sources for high-tech elements and should be investigated at a more detailed scale.
Article
Agricultural soil (Ap-horizon, 0–20 cm) samples were collected in Europe (33 countries, 5.6 million km2) as part of the GEMAS (GEochemical Mapping of Agricultural and grazing land Soil) soil-mapping project. The GEMAS survey area includes diverse groups of soil parent materials with varying geological history, a wide range of climate zones, and landscapes. The soil data have been used to provide a general view of U and Th mobility at the continental scale, using aqua regia and MMI® extractions. The U-Th distribution pattern is closely related to the compositional variation of the geological bedrock on which the soil is developed and human impact on the environment has not concealed these genuine geochemical features. Results from both extraction methods (aqua regia and MMI®) used in this study support this general picture. Ternary plots of several soil parameters have been used to evaluate chemical weathering trends. In the aqua regia extraction, some relative Th enrichment-U loss is related to the influence of alkaline and schist bedrocks, due to weathering processes. Whereas U enrichment-Th loss characterizes soils developed on alkaline and mafic bedrock end-members on one hand and calcareous rock, with a concomitant Sc depletion (used as proxy for mafic lithologies), on the other hand. This reflects weathering processes sensu latu, and their role in U retention in related soils. Contrary to that, the large U enrichment relative to Th in the MMI® extraction and the absence of end-member parent material influence explaining the enrichment indicates that lithology is not the cause of such enrichment. Comparison of U and Th to the soil geological parent material evidenced i) higher capability of U to be weathered in soils and higher resistance of Th to weathering processes and its enrichment in soils; and, ii) the MMI® extraction results show a greater affinity of U than Th for the bearing phases like clays and organic matter. The comparison of geological units with U anomalies in agricultural soil at the country scale (France) enables better understanding of U sources in the surficial environment and can be a useful tool in risk assessments.
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Trace element (TE) concentrations in topsoil of Swedish arable soils and grain of winter wheat, spring barley and oats are regularly monitored. Data on Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Mo, Ni and Zn were analysed in this study, in order to determine spatial patterns of geographical variation in concentrations and their correlations with soil parent material and bedrock geology, and to identify areas with possible TE deficiency or excess with regard to crop and livestock production and product quality. The results showed that pseudo-total (7 M HNO3 extraction) concentrations of Co, Cr, Cu, Ni and Zn were elevated in heavy clay soils. Areas influenced by sedimentary rock containing alum shale clearly showed elevated concentrations of various TEs, but otherwise it was difficult to find a clear correlation between soil TE concentration and bedrock geology. This may be because in the recently glaciated Swedish landscape, the ice sheet itself and the melt water from the declining ice sheet have transported soil material over large distances and/or because of low sampling density in many parts of the country. Despite weak correlations for individual elements, there was a general correlation between concentration in soil and concentration in cereal grain for many of the elements studied. One exception was Mn, for which pH was much more important than the concentration in soil. However, there was large variation in TE concentrations within short distances, indicating that soils with high and low concentrations can exist side by side. Nevertheless, for most TE, the risk of low concentrations in crop plants appeared to be greatest on coarse-textured soils on felsic rock and on soils on sedimentary rock (other than alum shale) in southern Sweden. While soils in this region generally have lower concentrations of Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni and Zn than soils in most of western and central Europe, it was difficult to find documented deficiency of elements other than Cu and Mn among those that are essential to plants. Comparing the data on cereal grain presented on this study with suggested critical values indicates possible Cu and Ni deficiency. For the cationic TEs, the generally lower pH in arable soils in Sweden may be one explanation for the modest deficiency problems observed despite rather low soil concentrations. No excessive TE concentrations in crops were recorded, but on clayey soils in eastern Sweden the concentrations were higher than the national average.
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The mineral exploration industry is used to very high sample densities (100s to 1000s of samples/km2) for geochemical exploration in order to define drill targets. Lately, geoscience organizations in many countries have been geochemically mapping increasingly larger areas at progressively lower sampling densities (1 site/100 to 1 site/18 000 km2). A single ore body is too small a target and cannot be expected to be discovered at such low sample densities; indeed numerous deposits could be hidden within a 100 × 100 km grid cell. However, mineral systems, which include all geological ingredients and processes necessary for the generation of mineral deposits, form much larger targets that could be identified even at such low sampling densities. Examples from some European low density geochemical surveys where patterns emerged that may have implications for mineral exploration are shown and discussed. It is concluded that low density geochemical mapping holds great promise in the early stages of mineral exploration programmes in guiding subsequent effort into the more fertile regions. Interpretation of these maps, however, may need a different approach than that used in classical, high density mapping exercises, where only ‘high values’ of certain metals are the traditional target.
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Indium is a very rare element, which is usually not reported in geochemical data sets. It is classified as a critical metal, with important applications in the electronics industry, especially in the production of solar panels and liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). Over 4000 samples of agricultural and grazing land soil have been collected for the "Geochemical Mapping of Agricultural and Grazing Land Soil of Europe" (GEMAS) project, carried out by the EuroGeoSurveys Geochemistry Expert Group. Indium concentrations in soil have been analysed using aqua regia extraction followed by ICP-MS, Median values of In for both land use types are nearly identical, 0.0176 mg/kg for agricultural soil and 0.0177 mg/kg for grazing land soil. The spatial distribution patterns of In in European soil are mainly controlled by geology and the presence of Zn and Sn mineralisation. The preference of In to accumulate in the fine-grained fraction of soil with high clay content dominates the major anomaly patterns on the geochemical maps. In the Mediterranean region, secondary In enrichment is visible in karst areas. A notable feature of the In spatial distribution is the large difference between northern and southern Europe, with median values of 0.012 and 0.021 mg In/kg, respectively, suggesting that, in addition to lithology, weathering and climate are important factors influencing In soil enrichment over time.
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The bedrock of Sweden has a long geological history and the oldest rocks formed 3,2 billion years ago. The Quaternary deposits covering the bedrock mostly consist of till and are younger, mainly formed c. 10 000 years ago during the latest glaciation. About 75% of Sweden’s land surface is covered by glacial till, the material on which this atlas is based. Through chemical analyses of the till we now have a better understanding of how the elements vary in the till in different parts of the country. These variations affect e.g. water quality and the health of humans and animals. Knowledge of the natural distribution of elements is of great value in mineral exploration but also in infrastructure planning and health and environmental work. We hope that this atlas will have a wide range of applications.
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This book aims to give the first comprehensive explanation of the metallogenic areas of Fennoscandia, which have recently been described in the Metallogenic Map of the Fennoscandian Shield. The Fennoscandian metallogenic map shows the extent of presently known metallogenic areas. They are defined by the presence of metal mines, deposits, favourable bedrock geology, and by indications from geophysical and geochemical surveys. The following metals are included: Ag, Au, Be, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Mo, Nb, Ni, Pb, Pd, Pt, Rh, REE, Sc, Sn, Ta, Ti, U, V, W, Y, Zn and Zr. The potential for exploration and mining is expressed by two types of areas: ‘Areas of good exploration potential’ include most of the known occurrences, past and present mines, and bedrock assumed to contain more deposits. Areas with the ‘highest potential for new discoveries’ are specifically indicated within these domains...
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The Nordic countries, including Greenland, have a long tradition in mining. Documented mining dates back to the 8th century AD. Today this region is the most important metallic mining district of the European Union. Metals are produced from active mines in all countries except Iceland and related industries are thriving in all countries. Important ore deposit types include: volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits (Cu, Zn, Pb, Au, Ag), orogenic gold deposits (Au), layered intrusions (Ni, PGE, Ti±V), intrusive hosted Cu-Au, apatite-Fe deposits, Cr- and anorthosite hosted Ti deposits. Besides these well-documented deposits, new kinds of deposits are being explored, e.g., iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG), shale-hosted Ni-Zn-Cu and different types of uranium deposits.
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Forty soil O- and C-horizon samples were collected along a south-to-north transect extending inland for approximately 200 km from the southern tip of Norway. The elements As, Au, Bi, Cd, Cu, Ga, Ge, Hf, Hg, In, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, V, W, Zn and Zr all show a distinct decrease in concentration in soil O-horizons with increasing distance from the coast. The elements showing the strongest coastal enrichment, some by more than an order of magnitude compared to inland samples, are Au, Bi, As, Pb, Sb and Sn. Furthermore, the elements Cd (median O-/median C-horizon = 31), C, Sb, Ag, K, S, Ge (10), Hg, Pb, As, Bi, Sr (5), Se, Au, Ba, Na, Zn, P, Cu and Sn (2) are all strongly enriched in the O-horizon when compared to the underlying C-horizon. Lead isotope ratios, however, do not show any gradient with distance from the coast (declining Pb concentration). Along a 50 km topographically steep east–west transect in the centre of the survey area, far from the coast but crossing several vegetation zones, similar element enrichment patterns and concentration gradients can be observed in the O-horizon. Lead isotope ratios in the O-horizon correlate along both transects with pH and the C/N-ratio, both proxies for the quality of the organic material. Natural conditions in southern Norway, related to climate and vegetation, rather than long range atmospheric transport of air pollutants (LRT), cause the observed features.
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EuroGeoSurveys geochemical mapping of agricultural and grazing land in Europe (GEMAS) -field manual. Norges geologiske undersøkelse NGU report
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