The subsoil (B horizon) is often enriched with clay, minerals or organic matter and is therefore also referred to as illuvial horizon. It is the main area of mineralisation. In many soil types the B horizon functions as water reservoir where water soluble pollutants accumulate. Furthermore, the channels of many burrowing soil organisms penetrate the B horizon thus facilitating the contaminant dissemination. The B horizon plays a major role in the cycle of matter because the roots of many plants penetrate through the B horizon and are exposed to the accumulated contaminants. In the subsoil, the samples are taken in the first subsoil horizon of up to 40 cm depth.

Sampling area

Saarländischer Verdichtungsraum Important, old-industrialised conurbation in Germany.
Bornhöveder Seengebiet Main water divide between the North- and Baltic Sea
NP Bayerischer Wald Germany's first national park
Verdichtungsraum Halle-Leipzig Region in the chemical triangle of Central Germany
Solling Second highest and largest low mountain range in Northern Germany
BR Pfälzerwald Germany's largest connected forest area in a range of low mountains
Oberbayerisches Tertiärhügelland The Upper Bavarian Tertiary Uplands are a part of the Southern German Molasse Basin


Metals Eighty percent of all elements on earth are metals
Nonmetals Only eighteen elements in the periodic table
Chlorohydrocarbons Group of organic compounds with at least one covalently bonded chlorine atom
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Group of organic compounds with at least three condensed six-membered rings
Stable Isotopes Atoms of one element with different weights
Supplementary parameters Additional information for the interpretation of contamination data

Sampling period

2002 - 2014