The Copper smelter of Karabash (Mednogorsk, Central Urals) has been in active for more than 80 years. Its emissions had, and continue to have a profound impact on soils and vegetation up to a distance of at least 10 km away from the smelter. This impact is readily visible by a dramatic decrease in vegetation species diversity, soil biotic activity and changes in soil mineralogy. We identified well defined chemical and spectral trends for soil and vegetation, showing a more or less concentric zoning around the smelter. Heavy metal content of soils could be directly correlated with spectral stress indicators in birch leaves. This allows us to map the extent ofthe environmental impact using field spectroscopy very accurately.


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