During studies of sulfide oxidation in coastal areas of Prince William Sound in 2005, precipitate samples were collected from onshore and intertidal locations near the Ellamar, Threeman, and Beatson mine sites (chapter A, fig. 1; table 7). The precipitates include jarosite and amorphous Fe oxyhydroxide from Ellamar, amorphous Fe oxyhydroxide from Threeman, and amorphous Fe oxyhydroxide, ferrihydrite, and schwertmannite from Beatson. Precipitates occurring in the form of loose, flocculant coatings were harvested using a syringe and concentrated in the field by repetitive decanting. Thicker accumulations were either scraped gently from rocks using a stainless steel spatula or were scooped directly into receptacles (polyethylene jars or plastic heavy-duty zippered bags). Most precipitate samples contain small amounts of sedimentary detritus. With three jarosite-bearing samples from Ellamar, an attempt was made to separate the precipitate from the heavy-mineral fraction of the sediment. In this procedure, the sample was stirred in a graduated cylinder containing deionized water. The jarosite-rich suspension was decanted onto analytical filter paper and air dried before analysis.
Eleven precipitate samples from the three mine sites were analyzed in laboratories of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Denver, Colorado (table 8). Major and trace elements were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry following multiacid (HCl-HNO3-HClO4-HF) digestion (Briggs and Meier, 2002), except for mercury, which was analyzed by cold-vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy (Brown and others, 2002a). X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses were performed on powdered samples (<200 mesh) by S. Sutley of the USGS. Additional details regarding sample preparation and detection limits are found in Taggert (2002). Discussions of the precipitate chemistry and associated microbial communities are presented in Koski and others (2008) and Foster and others (2008), respectively.