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GEMAS - Geochemical mapping of agricultural and grazing land soil in Europe (co-organized)
Convener: Anna Ladenberger 
 / Mon, 28 Apr, 08:30–12:30
 / Attendance Mon, 28 Apr, 17:30–19:00

GEMAS is a continental-scale cooperation project between EuroGeoSurveys and Eurometaux, involving 33 European countries. The main goal of this initiative was to establish the geochemical background for the agricultural and grazing land soil of Europe, the baseline at the beginning of the 21st century. In total, 2211 samples of agricultural soil (0-20 cm) and 2118 samples of grazing land soil (0-10 cm) were collected in 2008 at an average sample density of 1 site per 2500 km2, and analysed for a variety of parameters such as grain size distribution, pH, total organic carbon, loss of ignition, cation exchange capacity, and magnetic susceptibility. The concentration of ca 60 chemical elements has been obtained by three different analytical methods: (i) total concentrations by XRF, (ii) aqua regia extractable element concentrations determined by ICP AES/MS, and (iii) in a very weak extraction MMI(R) (Mobile Metal Ion) determined by ICP AES/MS. In addition, and unique on the continental scale, lead isotopes from agricultural and strontium isotopes from grazing land soil have been determined.

The GEMAS database offers a variety of applications and one of the most important parts of the project is the establishment of a ’soil sample archive’ recording the status of European agricultural and grazing land soil in the year 2008. Such an archive at the European scale is invaluable for land use planning, industrial development, environmental protection, and assessments after catastrophic events caused either by natural or human disasters. GEMAS data define the geochemical baseline for risk evaluation related to exposure of chemicals in agricultural soil (arable land) and grazing land soil (grassland), which is one of the requirements of the EU REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).

The aim of the session is to present the scientific outcome of the GEMAS project, and to promote this large and unique open database for future use by different scientific communities.