GEMAS (Geochemical Mapping of Agricultural Soils of Europe)

Soil sample collection

GEMAS aims to provide harmonised geochemical data of arable land and land under permanent grass cover at the continental, European scale.

Geological surveys in 34 European countries, covering an area of approximately 5.6 million km2, have sampled their territory at a sample density of 1 site per 2500 km2, collecting one sample from arable land (0–20 cm) and land under permanent grass cover (0–10 cm) each.

2008 sampling

Soil sample collection

In the UK, BGS sampling teams visited a total of 138 sites collecting a total 276 soil samples. Sampling took place during the summer of 2008, following a jointly agreed field protocol. Since the collection, samples have been prepared, analysed and results have been reported.

Data from the GEMAS project will support REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals), the new European Chemicals Regulation, adopted in December 2006 and which came into force on the 1st June 2007. The REACH regulation, as well as the pending EU Soil Protection Directive, require additional knowledge about "soil quality" at the European scale.

They will provide support to policy makers and those tasked with implementing policies as well as underpinning international collaborative research in topics such as agricultural productivity, trace element status and forensic food geochemistry. A sample archive to support future analyses will also result.

Further information

Contact Dee Flight for further information