Soil Geochemistry


At the end of this course the student will be able to understand the main geochemical processes that lead to soil genesis, development and degradation.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Nuno Gonçalo Figueiredo de Freitas Leal, Paulo Alexandre Rodrigues Roque Legoinha


Weekly - 3

Total - 37

Teaching language



Available soon


Ray R. Weil and Nyle C. Brady & (2017) - Elements of the Nature and Properties of Soils (5th Ed.). Pearson: 1086 p.

Costa, J. B. (2004). Caracterização e Constituição do Solo. 7ª edição. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 527 p. 

Schoeneberger, P.J., D.A. Wysocki, E.C. Benham, and Soil Survey Staff. (2012) - Field book for describing and sampling soils, Version 3.0. National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, NE.

, D. G.; Bohn, H. L.&  O''''Connor, G. A. (2015) - Soil Chemistry, 4th Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, June 2015, 392 pages, ISBN: 978-1-118-62923-9.

WRB - World Reference Base for Soil Resources (2006).

Teaching method

Theoretical lectures are held using data-show and e-learning methods (use of the Moodle platform). Theoretical-practical sessions consist of applications on the themes presented during the theoretical sessions, as well as laboratory work concerning soil characterization.

The projects and/or works begin in theoretic-practical sessions through online research about the issues related to the Curricular Unit (CU), existing thereafter a continuous orientation by the teachers. Students will have access to all the bibliography and materials (power-points, PDFs) used in the CU which will be put on a web-platform. The T and TP lectures are complemented with personalized attention in tutorial classes, although the teachers are always available for doubts and guidance aspects.

Evaluation method

Written exam (50%) + Thematic written work (40%) + Oral presentation (10%).

Subject matter

Minerals and rocks.The rock cycle and geochemistry. Mineral Chemistry. Mineral stability. Morphogenesis, sedimentogenesis, weathering and pedogenesis. Soils and their importance as non-renewable resources.

Soil profile. Characterization and classification of soil horizons (FAO nomenclature).

Soil architecture and physical properties.

Soil-water system chemistry. Soil minerals chemistry. Chemical reactions occurring in the soil. Interference of the minerals on the solid organic matter existing in the soil. Soil macro- and micro-nutrient geochemistry. Living organisms in the soil. Biogeochemical cycles.

Soil physical-chemical properties and soil degradation.

Classification of soils. Main Reference Soil Groups. Soil maps and Soil Usage Capacity maps. 

Minerals and rocks observation and classification. Pedological physical and chemical parameters determination. Soil maps analysis.