BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Geochemical Atlas of Germany

Country / Region: FRG

Begin of project: January 1, 1999

End of project: December 31, 2007

Status of project: January 10, 2007

During 1998 and 2000, one sample per 380 km² was collected and analyzed for 54 trace and secondary elements (Si, Ti, Al, Fe, Mn, Mg, Ca, Na, K, P, S, Cl, F, C tot., Corg., Ag, As, B, Ba, Be, Bi, Cd, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Ga, Hf, Hg, In, La, Li, Mo, Nb, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, Sc, Se, Sn, Sr, Ta, Te, Th, Tl, U, V, W, Y, Zn, Zr) and 4 organic parameters (AOX, MKW, PAH, PCB) in stream sediments (< 0,15 mm-fraction) and for 75 parameters in surface water (pH, EC, AOX, DOC, Ag, Al, As, B, Ba, Be, Bi, Br, Ca, Cd, Ce, Cl, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Dy, Er, Eu, F, Fe, Ga, Gd, Ge, Hf, Hg, Ho, I, In, K, La, Li, Lu, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Nb, Nd, Ni, Pb, Pr, Rb, Sb, Sc, Se, Sm, Sn, Sr, Ta, Tb, Te, Th, Ti, Tl, Tm, U, V, W, Y, Yb, Zr, BO2, HCO3, NO2, NO3, NH4, H2PO4, SO4, SiO2). The geochemical background levels for these elements were determined.

A regional geochemical survey focussing on major elements , heavy metals and other potential pollutants provides us with information about natural geochemical background concentrations, the variation of certain parameters such as pH and EC, and the distributions of metals, plant nutrients and toxic substances, as well as about landscape geochemistry, i.e. about the natural geochemical pattern and its modification by anthropogenic factors. This forms a basis for carrying contamination resulting from application of agrochemicals and organic fertilizers and from mineral exploration, as well as leaching of pollutions from the soil. Multielement anomalies were determined by using multivariate statistical methods (principal component analysis, cluster Q-analysis). Evaluation of the data on single- and multi-element maps provides a scientific basis for further large-scale environmental surveys by the individual states, as well as for providing expert advice and small-scale thematic maps when required by ministries, federal administrative authorities, and industry.


  • Geochemical Atlas
  • Data is being used for environmental and pollution studies, agriculture, forestry, geomedicine and animal health studies.
  • Systematic geochemical mapping is acknowledged as one of the best methods available to document changes in the levels of chemical elements at the Earth surface.

Project contributions:


Dr. Manfred Birke
Phone: +49-(0)30-36993-290 und +49 (0)511-643-2731
Fax: +49-(0)30-36993-212 und +49 (0)511-643-2304

This Page: