First Advisor

Scott F. Burns

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geology






Soils -- Heavy metal content -- Oregon, Soils -- Trace element content -- Oregon



Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, xi, 281 p.)


Soil samples from 118 sites on 71 geologic units in southwest Oregon were collected and analyzed to determine the background concentrations of metals in soils of the region. Sites were chosen in areas that were relatively undisturbed by human activities. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved total-recoverable method was used to recover metals from samples for analysis. The twenty six metals analyzed were: Ag, AI, As, Ba, Be, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, K, La, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Tl, V and Zn.

The Klamath Mountains followed by the Coast Range contain the highest soil concentrations of AI, Ca, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Ni, V and Zn. Soils of the Coastal Plain and High Lava Plains contain the lowest concentrations of these metals. Unusually high soil As concentrations are found at two sites in the Klamath Mountains. All Be and Cd values above laboratory's reporting limits are also from the Klamath Mountains and Coast Range. Concentrations of soil Ba and La are fairly uniform throughout the region. Soil Pb levels are generally low with a few exceptions in the Klamath Mountains, Coast and Cascade Ranges. The region west of the Cascade Range has higher soil Hg contents than in the east.

Soil metal concentrations are generally much higher in the region west of the Cascade Range, excluding the Coastal Plain, than in the east with the exception ofNa, because of more ultramafic rocks and a wetter climate. Soil metal concentrations are directly related to soil development with the highest concentrations being found in well developed Alfisols and Ultisols and the lowest concentrations in poorly developed Entisols. Most metals have similar averages and ranges of concentration compared to the rest of the United States (U.S.). Metals with high values compared to the rest of the U.S. are Cr, Co, Cu, Mn and Ni.

In general, AI, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, La, Li, Mg, Na, Ni, and V are concentrated in the B horizon while Ba, Ca, Hg, K, Mn, Pb and Zn are concentrated in the A horizon.


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