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TitleThe North American soil geochemical landscapes project -- 2010 US geological survey update
DownloadDownload (whole publication)
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorWoodruff, L G
SourcePresentations and recommendations from the workshop on the role of geochemical data in environmental and human health risk assessment, Halifax, 2010; by Rencz, A N (ed.); Kettles, I M (ed.); Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 6645, 2011 p. 24; 1 CD-ROM, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksCanadian Database of Geochemical Surveys, downloadable files
LinksBanque de données de levés géochimiques du Canada, fichiers téléchargeables
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
MeetingWorkshop on the role of geochemical data in environmental and human health risk assessment; Halifax; CA; March 17-18, 2010
Documentopen file
MediaCD-ROM; on-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Presentations and recommendations from the workshop on the role of geochemical data in environmental and human health risk assessment, Halifax, 2010
RelatedThis publication is related to the following publications
File formatpdf
AreaUnited States of America
Lat/Long WENS-125.0000 -65.0000 49.0000 25.0000
Subjectsgeochemistry; soils science; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Health and Safety; environmental analysis; environmental studies; environmental impacts; soil geochemistry; soils; soil studies; soil samples; soil properties; heavy metals contamination; pollution; pollutants; biogeochemistry; biogeochemical surveys; glacial deposits; tills; geochemical surveys; Human health; Cenozoic; Quaternary
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience
Released2011 01 01
AbstractA detailed knowledge of the concentration of chemicals in soil is required for calculation of human exposure to those chemicals via a soil pathway. At present, agencies involved with human and environmental health have no common understanding of soil geochemical background variation for North America and the processes that control this variation. The North American Soil Geochemical Landscapes Project, a tri-national initiative among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, was established to (1) develop a continental-scale design and protocols for generating soil geochemical data and (2) provide baseline soil geochemical data that are useful for a wide range of applications and disciplines, including public health. The Project is based on low-density sample collection over a spatially balanced array of 13,496 sites for the continent (1 sample site per 1,600 sq. km.). The core samples collected at each site include material from a depth of 0-5 cm and soils from the A and C horizons. In the US each sample is analyzed for more than 40 elements and mineralogy. Through partnerships with other federal agencies new data on the distribution of soil bacteria and microbial biomass are being generated.
Preliminary results indicate that concentrations of potentially toxic elements in soils commonly vary by 1-2 orders of magnitude. The observed variability is the result of several parameters such as soil parent material, climate, and human activities. Understanding this variation is critical in terms of understanding human exposure and for understanding soil pollution on a national scale. The USGS is committed to the completion of sample collection in the conterminous United States by the end of 2010 field season.

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