Geochemical Atlas of Europe


The Geochemical Atlas of Europe is the contribution of the Association of Geological Surveys of the European Union (EuroGeoSurveys) to the IUGS/IAGC Global Geochemical Baselines project.


The European geochemical baseline survey covers 26 countries, and provides invaluable information about the natural and human-induced concentrations of chemical elements in different sample media of the near-surface environment (topsoil, subsoil, humus, stream sediment, stream water and floodplain sediment). This is the first multi-national project, performed with a harmonised sampling, sample preparation, and analytical methodology, producing high quality compatible data sets across national borders. Over 60 determinands were determined, most for total and aqua regia extractable concentrations. The first phase of the project was completed, and the results published in a two-volume set, which is also freely available for viewing and downloading from together with the analytical data and photograph archive. The geochemical field manual can also be downloaded from


Over 400 maps were plotted, and interpreted. The geochemical distribution maps show distinct geographical differences in the levels of potentially harmful elements from natural geogenic sources, including lithology and mineralisation, and from natural processes, such as climate, which influence the original concentrations. This geochemical variation illustrates the difficulty in defining a single guideline value for water, soil and sediment to be applied all over Europe. Finally, the geochemical maps may be used to identify potential geohazard and geohealth risks in particular areas that will necessitate more detailed investigations; they may also be used to delineate areas of metalliferous mining activity and further ore potential interest across Europe.