The use of biogeochemical data in prospecting for nickel emphasizes the need for a simple, moderately accurate field method for the determination of nickel in plants. In order to follow leads provided by plants of unusual nickel content without loss of time, the plants should be analyzed and the results given to the field geologist promptly. The method reported in this paper was developed to meet this need. Speed is acquired by elimination of the customary drying and controlled ashing; the fresh vegetation is ashed in an open dish over a gasoline stove. The ash is put into solution with hydrochloric acid and the solution buffered. A chromograph is used to make a confined spot with an aliquot of the ash solution on dimethylglyoxime reagent paper. As little as 0.025% nickel in plant ash can be determined. With a simple modification, 0.003% can be detected. Data are given comparing the results obtained by an accepted laboratory procedure. Results by the field method are within 30% of the laboratory values. The field method for nickel in plants meets the requirements of biogeochemical prospecting with respect to accuracy, simplicity, speed, and ease of performance in the field. With experience, an analyst can make 30 determinations in an 8-hour work day in the field.
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Geochemical field method for determination of nickel in plants