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Geochemical mapping at all scales: evidence from soil, sediment, water and plants
Convener: Philippe Negrel  | Co-Convener: Edith Haslinger 
 / Fri, 28 Apr, 10:30–12:15
 / Attendance Fri, 28 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Geochemical mapping is an established method for studying the spatial distribution of chemical elements in different media, e.g., rock, soil, water, sediment and plants, and to document changes in their chemical composition occurring in different compartments of the ecosystem. Depending on the target and question to be answered, the resulting geochemical data can be used in mineral exploration, environmental, medical and forensic sciences, agriculture, forestry, land use planning, etc.
The results of geochemical mapping allow understanding of natural processes operating at the continental to regional scale, such as weathering, climate, tectonic evolution, etc. At present, it is crucial not only to provide background levels of elements, but also to understand and to document the consequences of contamination on the surface environment, which is no longer pristine and undergoes changes caused by human activities. Modern geochemical mapping relies on building databases and providing digital data services to the community as a whole. Geochemistry is a highly quantitative methodology utilising advanced mathematical, statistical and spatial methods for the processing and presentation of the obtained analytical data.
While large scale geochemical mapping gives approximate background levels of elements even at the continental scale, the regional mapping provides important answers to more local questions such as the chemical status of various types of soil (forest, agricultural, urban), local groundwater etc. Geochemical data sets have a high impact on socio-economic aspects and the well-being of humans and animals, because they provide additional information about the practical quality of inhabited environment including agricultural soil, drinking water, building materials, etc., and can be directly used by the authorities and policy makers e.g. for defining the guideline values.
The aim of the session is to present the status of geochemical mapping in the XXI century with the rapid development of novel methods, and unavoidable presence in the digital world with focus on continental, regional and local (e.g. catchment or urban environment) scale geochemical mapping data sets, using various sampling media, like soil, sediment, water, plants, etc.