Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Duane R. Hampton

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Kehew

Third Advisor

Dr. Daniel Cassidy


Soils, background, metals, naturally occurring, Michigan

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Closure of hazardous waste sites can be aided through the use of a soil background survey for metals. Data for these studies come from either field sampling or publicly available environmental files. Previous studies were conducted in Michigan, known as the Michigan Background Soil Survey (MBSS). The current update is a refinement and improvement of the 2005 update. New data was collected from publicly available environmental files and other sources. Both the current update and the 2005 update differentiated data by soil type and glacial lobe. GIS analysis was used to observe spatial distribution of the data and to determine whether metals in soils were influenced by glacial drift thickness and/or bedrock. Impact on environmental health from naturally-occurring soils was addressed by comparing soil data to environmental protection criteria.

Further refinement and improvement are needed beyond the current update. Field sampling can address spatial distribution concerns. Similarly, bedrock analysis for metals can enhance the understanding of how bedrock influences metals in soils. Speciation of metals should be analyzed for those metals in soils above environmental criteria. Better understanding of the naturally-occurring environment can lead to better decision making that is needed to protect humans and the biosphere.