Geology and Chemistry at the Surface

  • Andreas Bauer
  • Bruce D. Velde


The use of the name Geochemistry applied to the study of chemical relations in different geological situations in or on the earth is somewhat recent, coming into full vogue in the 1950s. It has its roots in the application of chemical principles (what was often termed mineral chemistry, dating to the origins of chemical investigation in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries). Surface geochemistry, as we wish to treat it here will be uniquely considered from the standpoint of chemical occurrence and the causes of the presence of the different elements found in different surface environments and materials. Isotope geochemistry certainly has an important role to play in understanding the processes that affect the surface of the earth but it is not our preoccupation here. We will treat the basic affinities of elements as they experience different chemical environments, where earth surface materials are transformed and transported. The geochemistry of the surface reflects the changing chemical environment, which leads to an instability of rock forming minerals at the surface and it reflects the forces of nature. Plants, rain and gravity affect and move surface materials from one site to another and change the relations of chemical concentration of the various elements in different phases at the surface.


Minor Element Silicate Mineral Soil Zone Surface Environment Rock Mineral 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Bauer
    • 1
  • Bruce D. Velde
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Nukleare Entsorgung (INE)Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)Eggenstein-LeopoldshafenGermany
  2. 2.Ecole Normale Supérieure Laboratoire de GéologieParis CEDEX 5France

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