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In experiments designed to determine the manner in which copper is partitioned among selected phases that constitute geologic media, we have applied the five-step sequential extraction procedure of Chao and Theobald to the analysis of drill core, soils, and stream sediments of the Rio Vivi and Rio Tanama porphyry copper districts of Puerto Rico. The extraction procedure affords a convenient means of determining the trace-metal content of the following fractions: (1) Mn oxides and "reactive" Fe oxides; (2) "amorphous" Fe oxides; (3) "crystalline" Fe oxides; (4) sulfides and magnetite; and (5) silicates. An additional extraction between steps (1) and (2) was performed to determine organic-related copper in stream sediments. The experimental results indicate that apportionment of copper among phases constituting geologic media is a function of geochemical environment. Distinctive partitioning patterns were derived from the analysis of drill core from each of three geochemical zones: (a) the supergene zone of oxidation; (b) the supergene zone of enrichment; and (c) the hypogene zone; and similarly, from the analysis of; (d) soils on a weakly leached capping; (e) soils on a strongly leached capping; and (f) active stream sediment. The experimental results also show that geochemical contrasts (anomaly-to-background ratios) vary widely among the five fractions of each sampling medium investigated, and that at least one fraction of each medium provides substantially stronger contrast than does the bulk medium. Fraction (1) provides optimal contrast for stream sediments of the district; fraction (2) provides optimal contrast for soils on a weakly leached capping; fraction (3) provides optimal contrast for soils on a strongly leached capping. Selective extraction procedures appear to have important applications to the orientation and interpretive stages of geochemical exploration. Further investigation and testing of a similar nature are recommended. ?? 1981.
Additional Publication Details
The partitioning of copper among selected phases of geologic media of two porphyry copper districts, Puerto Rico