Geochemistry is the study of the Earth's chemical composition and chemical development. A geochemist studies the elemental distribution in time and space on Earth. This includes the chemical processes and reactions that govern the composition of rocks and soils, the cycles of matter and energy that transport the Earth's chemical components and their interaction with the hydrosphere and atmosphere.

Geochemical maps provide a presentation of the variation of selected elements on the surface. They are prepared on the basis of a large number of chemical analyzes of rocks, soil, stream- or lake sediments, stream- or lake water, peat, plant roots, etc.

Victor Moritz Goldschmidt is considered as the father of modern geochemistry. He established Norway's Raw Material Laboratory "Statens Råstofflaboratorium" which later become NGU's laboratory. In V.M. Goldschmidt's time, the Raw Material Laboratory, led the world in analytical analysis and laboratory technique.

The physicist Benoit Mandelbrot (1983) introduced a completely new branch of mathematics called 'fractal geometry. Through statistics he revealed thatNature has fractal properties, which suggests that there is an optimal number of observations needed to describe a geochemical landscape. It has been found thatto produce a geochemical map of an given area, between 500-1000 observations are required. For a discussion on the fractal nature of geochemical landscapes, see Bolviken at al., (1992)."


  • Mandelbrot, Benoît B. (1983). The Fractal Geometry of Nature. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-1186-9.
  • Bolviken, B., Stokke, P.R., Feder, J. and Jossang, T, 1992: The fractal nature of geochemical landscapes. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 43 91-109.
  • Bolviken, B., Demetriades, A., Hindel, R., Locutura, J., O’Connor, P., Ottesen, R.T., Plant J., Ridgway, J., Salminen, R., Salpeteur, I., Schermann, 0. and Volden, T., (eels) 1990: Geochemical mapping of western Europe towards the year 2000. Project proposal. NGU report 90-106, 12 pages and 9 appendices; Geological Survey of Norway.