Arsenic concentrations are reported for the <2mm fraction of ca. 2200 soil samples each from agricultural (Ap horizon, 0-20cm) and grazing land (Gr, 0-10cm), covering western Europe at a sample density of 1site/2500km2. Median As concentrations in an aqua regia extraction determined by inductively coupled plasma emission mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) were 5.7mg/kg for the Ap samples and 5.8mg/kg for the Gr samples. The median for the total As concentration as determined by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) was 7mg/kg in both soil materials. Maps of the As distribution for both land-use types (Ap and Gr) show a very similar geographical distribution. The dominant feature in both maps is the southern margin of the former glacial cover seen in the form of a sharp boundary between northern and southern European As concentrations. In fact, the median As concentration in the agricultural soils of southern Europe was found to be more than 3-fold higher than in those of northern Europe (Ap: aqua regia: 2.5 vs. 8.0mg/kg; total: 3 vs. 10mg/kg). Most of the As anomalies on the maps can be directly linked to geology (ore occurrences, As-rich rock types). However, some features have an anthropogenic origin. The new data define the geochemical background of As in agricultural soils at the European scale.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|