The U.S. Geological Survey has released a set of maps depicting the distribution of selected chemical elements and minerals in soils across the country.
Understanding the composition of soil is important for a variety of reasons. Specialists in agriculture and food safety find soil data useful because soil is the source of most biologically active trace elements that reach humans through the food chain. Public health specialists need to understand soil pathways for human exposure to potentially toxic elements.
Regulators and resource managers use soil data to identify contamination, assess the risks to ecosystems and human health from contamination, and to set remediation goals. The maps and data sets serve as a starting point for future research in a variety of fields.
Find the complete release here.