The topsoil (A horizon) is the upper layer of the mineral soil body with high biological activity. It is mostly darker in colour and contains more organic matter than the deeper layer. The topsoil is of special importance in the circulation of contaminants because it is the main root space of plants and the habitat of the majority of soil organism.

Sampling area

BR/NP Berchtesgaden The only high mountains national park in Germany and an area of the Limestone Alps with international relevance
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
NP Harz Germany's largest forest national park
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
DDT and metabolites Toxic and persistent organochloropesticide
Hexachlorocyclohexane Several isomeric compounds among the group of chlorinated hydrocarbons
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Group of organic compounds with at least three condensed six-membered rings
Perchlorate Salts of perchloric acid
Supplementary parameters Additional information for the interpretation of contamination data

Sampling period

2002 - 2014