To test the relative effectiveness of stream water and sediment as geochemical exploration media in the Rio Tanama porphyry copper district of Puerto Rico, we collected and subsequently analyzed samples of water and sediment from 29 sites in the rivers and tributaries of the district. Copper, Mo, Pb, Zn, SO42-, and pH were determined in the waters; Cu, Mo, Pb, and Zn were determined in the sediments. In addition, copper in five partial extractions from the sediments was determined. Geochemical contrast (anomaly-to-background quotient) was the principal criterion by which the effectiveness of the two media and the five extractions were judged. Among the distribution patterns of metals in stream water, that of copper most clearly delineates the known porphyry copper deposits and yields the longest discernable dispersion train. The distribution patterns of Mo, Pb, and Zn in water show little relationship to the known mineralization. The distribution of SO42- in water delineates the copper deposits and also the more extensive pyrite alteration in the district; its recognizable downstream dispersion train is substantially longer than those of the metals, either in water or sediment. Low pH values in small tributaries delineate areas of known sulfide mineralization. The distribution patterns of copper in sediments clearly delineate the known deposits, and the dispersion trains are longer than those of copper in water. The partial determinations of copper related to secondary iron and manganese oxides yield the strongest geochemical contrasts and longest recognizable dispersion trains. Significantly high concentrations of molybdenum in sediments were found at only three sites, all within one-half km downstream of the known copper deposits. The distribution patterns of lead and zinc in sediments are clearly related to the known primary lead-zinc haloes around the copper deposits. The recognizable downstream dispersion trains of lead and zinc are shorter than those of copper. ?? 1985.
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A comparative study of stream water and stream sediment as geochemical exploration media in the Rio Tanama porphyry copper district, Puerto Rico