The efficacy of sagebrush (Artemisia) as a biogeochemical indicator of base-metal mineralization in stratabound Precambrian ore deposits in west-central Colorado was investigated by collecting new (mostly flowering) growth from several sagebrush shrubs over and near five such deposits in three different areas. These are the Sedalia mine and two mines in the Turret district near Salida, and two mines in the Cochetopa district southeast of Gunnison. Two species were used, A. tridentata and A. frigida, depending on the area. Sagebrush clippings were separated into two subsamples consisting of (1) stems, and (2) leaves and blossoms stripped from the stems. These subsamples were ashed separately and the ash analyzed with an emission spectrograph for 30 elements. There appear to be no appreciable differences in the analyses of the two subsamples, indicating that composite samples would provide adequate information for further investigations. Eight of these elements, Ag, Bi, Cu, Pb, Sn, Y, Zn, and Zr, are present in notably higher concentrations in the ash of samples growing over mineralized ground than in that of control samples growing over barren ground. Although the distribution pattern, and the number of these anomalous elements, differs at each of the five localities, three of them, silver, copper, and lead, show good contrast and close association with subjacent mineralization in all five study areas. ?? 1983.
Additional publication details
The use of sagebrush (Artemisia) as a biogeochemical indicator of base-metal deposits in Precambrian rocks of west-central Colorado