The soil of south-east Scotland is locally deficient in copper and cobalt. Measurements from nearly 3000 fields for which the soil association is known were analysed to study the coregionalization of the two elements and to assess the influence of parent material on the metals' concentrations. The experimental auto- and cross-variograms revealed distinct local (1.5 km) and regional (20 km) scales of spatial variation. A combination of indicator variograms of the soil associations had the same spatial structures, suggesting that parent material influences the concentrations of the metals.

The coregionalization between copper and cobalt was modelled as a linear combination of three spatial structures. The resulting structural correlation coefficients showed the two elements to be fairly strongly positively correlated at the regional scale. Kriging allowed determination and mapping of each spatial component; these maps were then compared with the spatial distribution of soil associations in the region. An analysis of variance was performed before and after filtering out the nugget and short-range spatial components. Classification by soil association (parent material) accounted for a large proportion of the variance at the regional scale, suggesting that the parent material contributes substantially more to the trace element content of the soil than had been thought earlier.