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A regional geochemical atlas for part of Socorro County, New Mexico



A regional geochemical atlas for part of Socorro County, New Mexico



Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 29(6): 434



Accurate interpretations of geochemical data in environmental and mineral exploration studies require that the natural concentrations of elements in a study area be known. One way of providing these data is to create a regional geochemical atlas. As part of a trial for New Mexico, a regional geochemical atlas was created for part of Socorro County. The sampling protocol followed the recommendations set forth by the International Geological Correlation Programs Project 259 (Darnley et al., 1995). By following these recommendations the data from this project may eventually be incorporated into a global geochemical database. Samples were collected from within cells of a 3X3-km grid based on the UTM coordinate system. One sample site for each grid cell was selected based on an absence of obvious contamination, accessibility, and representation of the cell. Stream sediments were chosen as a sample media because they represent a composite of the lithological variations within a drainage basin. Samples consisted of a composite of the <150 (m sediment fraction taken over 50 m of the streambed. Samples were analyzed by wavelength dispersive x-ray fluorescence for Fe (sub 2) O (sub 3) , MnO, TiO (sub 2) , As, Ba, Cr, Cu, Ga, Mo, Nb, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sr, Th, U, V, Y, Zn, and Zr. The monitoring of analytical reproducibility as well as within stream variation involved the use of triplicate samples in an unbalanced two level design. Analysis of international standard reference materials ensured the precision and accuracy of the data. Results show that nearly all elements have trends that are correlative with the varying geology of the region (e.g., Paleozoic sediments, and Tertiary andesitic and rhyolitic volcanics). Anomalously high concentrations of As, Cu, Pb, and Zn occur as expected within the Magdalena Mining District. Other anomalously high regions include As in the Chupadera Mountains, the rare earth elements near Polvadera Mtn., and U and Mn within Copper and South Canyons.

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