Abstract

Geochemical atlases based on the analysis of sediments from surface tributary drainage have been published for Northern Ireland, and England & Wales; the data are smoothed by computer and show regional patterns for the distribution of 20 and 21 elements respectively. Atlases for parts of Scotland present point-source data for up to 25 elements in stream sediments; additional data have been obtained for pan concentrates and stream waters. Regional surveys to provide point-source information are continuing and it is intended that they will in due course cover the whole of the United Kingdom.

Research has been successfully undertaken into the applications of geochemical maps to problems of plant and animal health and production, and maps are currently used to delineate areas of potential trace element deficiency and heavy metal excess, particularly where problems may be of a sub-clinical nature. Applications to human health are illustrated with examples of metal anomalies in old mining areas in Derbyshire (Pb) and Somerset (Cd, Zn). Geochemical atlases continue to provide valuable sources of multi-element data for area selection in food, water and medical surveys, and comprise useful base-line information for epidemiological studies.

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