Application of the National-Scale Soil Geochemical and Mineralogical Data for the Conterminous U.S.

Science Center Objects

Project goals were to produce interpretive products based on the exising national-scale geochoemical and mineralogical data and maps for soils of the conterminous U.S.

example soil geochemistry data

Screenshot of Geochemical and Mineralogical Maps for Soils of the Conterminous U.S. data portal, https://mrdata.usgs.gov/soilgeochemistry/.

(Public Domain)

Science Issue and Relevance

The USGS Soil Geochemical Landscapes of the Conterminous United States Project (2011-2015) published national-scale geochemical and mineralogical data and maps for soils of the conterminous U.S., published in USGS Data Series 801 (Smith and others, 2014; Smith and others, 2013) and available as an interactive mapping web site. Users can view all the maps and download them in a variety of formats, including KML files that can be opened directly into Google Earth. However, interpretive products to explain the major geochemical and mineralogical patterns observed for each element and mineral have not been published.

Methods to Address Issue

We plan to publish interpretive products based on the existing national-scale geochemical and mineralogical data and maps for soils of the conterminous U.S. In addition to these publications, we will add explanations of the major geochemical and mineralogical patterns observed for each element and mineral shown on this site.

These data and maps are a valuable tool in policy and decision-making. Possible interpretive products will show:

  • the national-scale distribution of each element and mineral;
  • the influence of glaciation on soil geochemistry and mineralogy of the upper Mid-West;
  • the influence of climate, parent material, and human activities (agriculture, industry, and vehicular emissions) on soil geochemistry and mineralogy.

In addition, the Mexican Geological Survey is nearing completion of chemical analysis on soil samples collected throughout Mexico. We hope to merge our data sets to produce geochemical maps of the two countries combined.

Potential Impacts of Research

There are a variety of stakeholders who provided positive comments when the soil geochemical and mineralogical data and maps were published. The additional interpretive publications and resulting enhanced interactive data and map portal will facilitate the stakeholders' ability to understand the abundance and spatial distribution of chemical elements and minerals in soils of the conterminous U.S.

References

Smith, D.B., Cannon, W.F., Woodruff, L.G., Solano, Federico, and Ellefsen, K.J., 2014, Geochemical and mineralogical maps for soils of the conterminous United States: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1082, 386 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20141082.

Smith, D.B., Cannon, W.F., Woodruff, L.G., Solano, Federico, Kilburn, J.E., and Fey, D.L., 2013, Geochemical and mineralogical data for soils of the conterminous United States: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 801, 19 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds801.

New Jersey soil sample collection site

Soil sample collection site 8436, just south of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

(Credit: Laurel Woodruff, USGS. Public Domain)

IL soil sample collection site

Soil sample collection site 2472 near Rantoul, Illinois.

(Credit: Laurel Woodruff, USGS. Public domain.)

 

scientists at soil pit

Scientists from the Mexican Geological Survey (Servicio Geológico Mexicano), Geological Survey of Canada, and the USGS at a soil sample pit in Mexico.

(Credit: Jean Weaver, USGS. Public domain.)

A-horizon soil sample

Soil sample pit at site 29_1_A, South Dakota.

(Credit: Laurel Woodruff, USGS. Public domain.)

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