Earth scientists, who have worked together for 6 years in the priority pro gram "Hydrogeochemical Processes in the Hydrological Cycle Within the Unsaturated and Saturated Zones", have summarized the results of their research in this volume. This is the occasion to take stock and then look ahead. The priority program was set up by the Senate of The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in October 1981. This was preceded by lengthy and careful preparation by a Program Committee, and was finally recom mended by the Senate Commission for Joint Research in Earth Sciences. The main aim was the interdisciplinary research of geochemical processes in natural systems in the total underground water cycle, whereby water pollution was not to be considered. Officially started on 1 September 1982, the program has received a grant of DM 10. 9 Mio. from the DFG, and this has enabled it to support a total of 50 projects. Although at the beginning, practice-oriented projects, which were funded elsewhere, were not to be included, many of the results are applicable. The four categories presented were investigated with vary ing intensity. An early concentration on certain representative fields of measurement and research areas proved to be the right approach - this avoided a waste of effort in other fields. During the period of the priority program, new and topical questions arose, e. g.
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