Surface water (streams, lakes) as well as groundwater are important sample materials for geochemical mapping. During the last twenty years there have been major developments in analytical techniques, that allow now to analyse a large part of the periodic table (about 70 elements) with low enough detection limits to determine their concentration in water samples.

In cooperation with the hydrogeology group NGUs geochemists have provide some of the first multielement datasets of Norwegian groundwater. Norwegian hardrock groundwater has a number of quality issues in relation to F, Rn and U, which are important to document. When using surface water the long coastline of Norway has a major impact on the chemistry of the water and geology is often masked by climatic effects up to 50 km inland.

The collection of water samples requires great care. Due to very low concentrations of most elements a water sample can easily be contaminated at any stage of sample collection. NGU’s geochemists have pointed out several unexpected contamination issues.

Water quality in the Rift Valley in Ethiopia, where high F values are a major health issue has also been mapped.

Mapping the chemical composition of European groundwater using bottled water as a proxy in cooperation with most of the Geological Surveys in Europe has been one of the latest projects in the realms of water chemistry.


Selected References:

  • BANKS, D., FRENGSTAD, B., MIDTGÅRD, A.K., KROG, J.R. & STRAND, T., 1998. The chemistry of Norwegian groundwaters: I. The distribution of radon, major and minor elements in 1604 crystalline bedrock groundwaters. The Science of the Total Environment, 222: 71-91
  • BANKS, D., SÆTHER, O.M., RYGHAUG, P. & REIMANN, C., 2001. Hydrochemical distribution patterns in stream waters; Trøndelag; Central Norway. The Science of the Total Environment 267: 1-21.
  • FRENGSTAD, B., MIDTGÅRD, AA.K., BANKS, D., KROG, J.R. & SIEWERS, U., 2000 The chemistry of Norwegian groundwaters. III.  The distribution of trace elements in 476 crystalline bedrock groundwaters, as analysed by ICP-MS techniques. The Science of the Total Environment 246: 21-40.
  • JÆGER, Ø., GRIMSTVEDT, A., FRENGSTAD, B., & REIMANN, C.,, 2006. Groundwater contamination from well points – An experience from the Norwegian groundwater monitoring network. The Science of the Total Environment 367: 437-440.
  • REIMANN, C. & BIRKE, M. (eds.), 2010. Geochemistry of European Bottled Water. Borntraeger Science Publishers, Stuttgart, 268pp
  • REIMANN, C., BANKS, D., BOGATYREV, I., CARITAT, P. de, KASHULINA, G. & NISKAVAARA, H., 1999. Lake water geochemistry on the western Kola Peninsula, north-west Russia. Applied Geochemistry, 14: 787-805.
  • REIMANN, C., BANKS, D. & CARITAT, P.DE, 2000. Impacts of airborne contamination on regional soil and water quality: the Kola Peninsula, Russia. Environmental Science and Technology 34: 2727-2732.
  • REIMANN, C., BJORVATN, K., FRENGSTAD, B., MELAKU, Z., TEKLE-HAIMANOT, R. & SIEWERS, U., 2003. Drinking water quality in the Ethiopian section of the East African Rift Valley I: Data and health aspects. The Science of the Total Environment 311: 65-80.
  • REIMANN, C., GRIMSTVEDT, A., FRENGSTAD, B. & FINNE, T.E. 2007. White HDPE bottles as a source of serious contamination of water samples with Ba and Zn. Science of the Total Environment 374: 292-296.