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TitleGeochemical variability and interpretation of soils in the Maritime Provinces, Canada
AuthorGrunsky, E C; Friske, P W B
SourceGeological Association of Canada-Mineralogical Association of Canada, Joint Annual Meeting, Abstracts Volume vol. 36, 2011 p. 1
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20100508
MeetingGeological Association of Canada / Mineralogical Association of Canada Annual Meeting; Ottawa; CA; May 25-27, 2011
Mediaon-line; digital
File formathtml
ProvinceNew Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island
Subjectsgeochemistry; geochemical interpretations; geochemical analyses
ProgramProgram management and Transition Activities, Environmental Geoscience
AbstractA soil geochemical survey was undertaken in the maritime provinces of Canada. The survey, initially part of the North American Soil Geochemistry Landscapes Project, was designed to reveal the variability of the near surface geochemistry that is associated with underlying bedrock geology, effects of weathering, meteoric water infiltration, groundwater and anthropogenic activities. Soil samples collected from the O, A, B and C horizons from the Maritime Provinces of Canada were analyzed using four-acid digestion and ICP-OES/MS instrumentation. An additional soil layer profile, PH (Public Health) of 0-5 cm depth was defined as part of the A horizon and is of interest in health risk assessments. A principal component (PC) analysis of the log-centred geochemistry from the four soil horizons reveals a distinctive set of inter-element relationships from the C horizon upwards into the B, A and PH horizons. Statistical dispersion of several elements increases upwards in the soil profile. Maximum data dispersion occurs in the PH and A horizon soils. Elements including Cd, S, P, Pb, Bi, Sb, Mo, Be, Zn and Cu are relatively enriched in the PH-A horizons (correlated with increasing organic carbon content) while elements including Ni, Mg, Cr, V, Co, Fe and Sc are relatively enriched in the C horizon, representing a mafic component of the protolith. The felsic component of the protolith is expressed as a relative enrichment of K, Rb, Zr, REEs, Li and Al. This lithologic trend is exhibited along the second PC axis. The relative associations revealed in the first two principal components enable the recognition of the underlying protolith, weathering, meteoric water and groundwater effects. The sources of these associations may be attributed to the underlying geology, anthropogenic activity, or a combination of both. The influence of bedrock geology, climate and geomorphology (ecoregions) can be used to characterize the regional variability of the geochemistry for environmental and population health risk assessments.