GEMAS: Cadmium distribution and its sources in agricultural and grazing land soil of Europe — Original data versus clr-transformed data

P. Valera
Membro del Collaboration Group


Over 4000 agricultural and grazing land soil samples were collected for the â "Geochemical Mapping of Agricultural and Grazing Land Soil of Europeâ" (GEMAS) project carried out by the EuroGeoSurveys Geochemistry Expert Group. The samples were collected in 33 European countries, covering 5.6 million km2at a density of 1 sample site per 2500 km2. All samples were analysed by ICP-MS following an aqua regia extraction. The European median Cd concentration is 0.182 mg/kg in agricultural soil and 0.197 mg/kg in grazing land soil (including eastern Ukraine). The Cd map demonstrates the existence of two different geochemical background regimes in northern and southern Europe, separated by the southern limit of the Quaternary glaciation. Cadmium shows two times higher background concentrations in the older and more weathered southern European soil than in northern European soil. The spatial distribution patterns of Cd in the collected soil samples are mainly governed by geology (parent material and mineralisation), as well as weathering, soil formation and climate since the last glaciation period. Locally, in several areas, the natural anomaly pattern is overprinted by anthropogenic emissions from former mining, ore processing and related metal industries. Some Cd anomalies can be attributed to urbanisation and the use of fertilisers. A comparison of the raw data Cd concentration map with its clr-transformed counterpart and selected single element ratio maps demonstrates that substantial additional information about sources and processes governing the distribution of Cd in agricultural soil at the European scale can be obtained. Results of a PCA, carried out following the classical approach (standardised) versus a PCA based on the statistically acceptable approach, using clr-transformed data, are quite comparable.
Agricultural soil; Cadmium; Compositional data analysis; Continental-scale geochemical mapping; Europe; PCA; Geochemistry and Petrology; Economic Geology
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