Vertical distribution patterns of trace and major elements within soil profile in Lithuania

Virgilija Gregorauskienė, Valentinas Kadunas


The vertical distribution of the total contents assayed by Dc-Arc ES analysis of 28 trace elements and 6 major elements measured by ICP-MS within 53 complete soil profiles in Lithuania are presented. Models of the soil profiles were created, each having the master soil horizons A, E, B and C. Median values of elements in the master horizons of different texture were used in place of missing samples, while aberrant samples were discarded. The absolute average deviation (s) was taken to measure the variability of the data subsets and thus to check the reliability of location of the element contents within the soil profile. Within the context of the different actions of the various soil-forming processes (podzolization, lessivage, gleyfication, humification and so on) the general patterns of vertical element distribution were revealed. Element depletion is dominant in the soils of Lithuania. The most easily removed are the alkaline elements Ca and Mg, while U, B, Th, As, Co, Cr, Sr, Y, Mo, La, Sc, Yb, Ti, P and K are depleted through the whole soil profile. Ag, Pb, Sn and Mn were defined as the accumulative elements in the surface A-horizon and might be influenced by anthropogenic or biogenic processes. A relative accumulation of Zr, Ba and Nb was observed in the surface A-horizon, and this seems to be related to the weathering of resistant minerals. Levels of Fe, Li, Al, V, Zn, Ga, Ni, Cu and Rb were ascribed to elements precipitated in the soil illuvial B-horizon due to soil formation processes. Na, K, Sr, B, U, As, Co Rb and Yb were found to be the most immobile elements within typical soil profiles, while Ag, Zn, Sc, Ba, Cu, Zr, Fe La, Th and Ca are the most mobile elements and affected by a variety of natural and human factors.


Lithuania; complete soil profile; accumulative elements; removable elements; total element contents; variability

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