Environmental Earth Sciences

, 59:1367 | Cite as

Geochemical background in soils: a linear process domain? An example from Istria (Croatia)

  • Zoran PehEmail author
  • Slobodan Miko
  • Ozren Hasan
Original Article


Definition of geochemical background in exploration and environmental geochemistry has always been regarded as contingent upon scale and investigated locality but mostly under assumption that hosts of processes that produce the data more or less conform individually to Gaussian law of “central tendencies”. Recently, understanding of pedogenesis as synergetic process being characterized by non-linear dynamics renders thermodynamic approach directly applicable in assessment of geochemical thresholds, with concepts of linearity and normality set alongside in solving the problems of soil geochemistry. Seen from this perspective the work is an attempt to relate conceptual fundamentals of non-linear dynamical theory to basic statistical methods in order to elucidate the nature and origins of element subpopulations hidden in the original geochemical data from the soils of Istrian Peninsula (western Croatia). To this purpose the two major groups of soils were selected for analysis depending on the type of bedrock as one of the main soil-forming factors. Geochemical data were subjected to the trimming procedure by which the outliers were removed from the total data collective and attributed to non-linear causes precluding simple cause-and-effect relationships as the sine qua non of Gaussian distribution. Geochemical background is then defined as the normal range of data of the remaining (trimmed) dataset indicating the “thermodynamic branch” of the specific soil processes as opposed to outliers being described as dissipative structures.


Soil-forming processes Non-linear dynamics Geochemical background Normal distribution Dissipative structures Istria Croatia 



This work was founded by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, Republic of Croatia (projects: 181-1811096-1181, The Basic Geochemical Map of The Republic of Croatia; 181-1811096-1104, The Map of Mineral Resources of the Republic of Croatia). Their support is greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Croatian Geological SurveyZagrebCroatia

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