Trace metal composition of winter snowpack, snow-melt filter residues and top-soil samples were determined along three transects through industrial towns in the Usa basin, North-East Russia: Inta, Usinsk and Vorkuta. Snow was analysed for Ag, Al, As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr and Zn using ICP-MS (Ca and K by F-AAS for Vorkuta only), pH and acidity/alkalinity. Filter residues were analysed for: Al, Ba, Ca, Cd, Cu, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr and Zn using F-AAS and GF-AAS; top-soil samples were analysed for Ba, Cu, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Pb, Sr, Zn using F-AAS. Results indicate elevated concentrations of elements associated with alkaline combustion ash around the coal mining towns of Vorkuta and Inta. There is little evidence of deposition around the gas and oil town of Usinsk. Atmospheric deposition in the vicinity of Vorkuta, and to a lesser extent Inta, added significantly to the soil contaminant loading as a result of ash fallout. Acid deposition was associated with pristine areas whereas alkaline combustion ash near to emission sources more than compensated for the acidity caused by SO2.