Geochemistry

Map of geochemical distribution of nickel in stream and river sediments.
Distribution of nickel in stream and river sediments.
© Geological Survey and partner institutions

Geochemical data are an indicator of the quality of the human environment. They describe the distribution of nutrients, trace elements and pollutants in rocks, soil, surface water and groundwater. River sediments are derived from the rocks within a catchment area and mirror their chemical composition.

Map of hydrochemical geogenic background values of near-surface groundwater bodies of sulfat.
Sulfate: Hydrochemical geogenic background values of near-surface groundwater bodies.
© BMLFUW

The hydrochemical composition of groundwater results from the geochemical makeup of the aquifer and from anthropogenic input. To evaluate groundwater quality and to detect possible anthropogenic contamination requires the separation of these two sources of input.

Rock of different colors, especially striking a dark red
Realgar, also known as ruby sulphur.
© Geological Survey of Austria

The hydrochemical content of groundwater reflects geological background levels. Arsenic occurs mainly in crystalline rocks and can find its way into the groundwater in such areas.