Some naturally heavy-metal poisoned areas of interest in prospecting soil chemistry, and geomedicine.
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Occurences of naturally lead-poisoned soil and vegetation have been found in 5 different areas in Norway where deposits of galena occur in the bedrock, namely at Snertingdal, Galå near Rena, Nordre Osen, Nord-Aurdal, and Stabbursdalen. In the initial stages of lead poisoning Vaccinium spp. are replaced by Deschampsia flexuosa. Where lead poisoning is more advanced, the field characteristics are: abnormal, dying or deficient vegetation; apparently high stone content at the soil surface; a poorly developed or deficient bleached layer in podzol areas. Samples from lead-affected patches show average lead contents of up to 2.5% in soil and up to 400 ppm in vagetable dry matter, corresponding approximately to 400 and 70 times, respectively, the contents found at \"background stations\". Elements other than lead can also be toxic to the vegetation. At a copper-bearing mineral deposit at Karasjok, average Cu contents of 7400 ppm and 330 ppm were found in soil and vegetation, respectively, from patches with abnormal or deficient vegetation. At the Tverrfjellet pyrite deposit at Hjerkinn poisoning symptoms of soil and vegetation are also pronounced but there the cause of poisoning is probably more complex.