Landscape Geochemistry

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Geochemistry, Landscape


a scientific discipline that arose in the 1940’s at the juncture of geography and geochemistry. It studies the migration of chemical elements in a landscape, using for this purpose the idea and methods of geochemistry, particularly biogeochemistry. The Soviet scientists V. I. Vernadskii, in papers on the biosphere (1926), and A. E. Fersman, in papers on the geochemistry of deserts and polar regions (1931), made the first attempts at studying landscape geochemistry. B. B. Polynov, who in 1946 formulated the tasks and basic concepts of landscape geochemistry and also developed its methods of study, was the founder of landscape geochemistry as an independent scientific discipline.

Landscape geochemistry classifies the migration of elements according to forms of movement of matter. Biogenic migration is of primary importance in most landscapes, manifesting itself in the biological circulation of atoms and the formation and decomposition of organic substances. Through circulation, solar energy is converted into effective chemical energy. Physicochemical migration is mainly developed in landscape waters. It determines many of its geochemical features. Depending on the nature of the ions in natural waters, acid (H+), calcium (Ca2+), and other landscapes are differentiated. Separate sections of the earth’s surface, characterized by definite migration features, are called geochemical landscapes, and all their parts—watersheds, slopes, valleys, and so on—are interconnected by the migration of atoms. Migration features serve as the basis for the geochemical classification of the landscapes of the USSR and the compilation of landscape geochemical maps of territories of the USSR and separate regions.

The historical method is an important principle in landscape geochemistry. The study of the geochemical characteristics of landscapes of past geological epochs forms the subject matter of historical landscape geochemistry. It is used in prospecting for minerals and in public health. Scientific and applied research in landscape geochemistry is developing in the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the academies of sciences of the Union Republics, universities, branch research institutes, and geological boards.


Polynov, B. B. “Geokhimicheskie landshafty.” In the book Izbr. trudy. Moscow, 1956.
Polynov, B. B. “Uchenie o landshaftakh.” Ibid.
Glazovskaia, M. A. Geokhimicheskie osnovy tipologii i metodiki issledovaniia prirodnykh landshaftov. Moscow, 1964.
Dobrovol’skii, V. V. Atomy v landshafte. Moscow, 1964.
Perel’man, A. I. Geokhimiia landshafta [2nd ed.]. Moscow, 1966.
Perel’man, A. I. “Sovremennoe sostoianie geokhimii landshafta i zadachi dal’neishikh issledovanii.” In the collection Geokhimiia landshafta. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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