A solution of dilute hydrochloric acid, ascorbic acid, and potassium iodide has been found to dissolve weakly bound metals in soils, stream sediments, and oxidized rocks. Silver, Bi, Cd, Cu, Mo, Pb, Sb, and Zn are selectively extracted from this solution by a mixture of Aliquat 336 (tricaprylyl methyl ammonium chloride) and MIBK (methyl isobutyl ketone). Because potentially interfering major and minor elements do not extract, the organic separation allows interference-free determinations of Ag and Cd to the 0.05 ppm level, Mo, Cu, and Zn to 0.5 ppm, and Bi, Pb, and Sb to 1 ppm in the sample using flame atomic absorption spectroscopy. The analytical absorbance values of the organic solution used in the proposed method are generally enhanced more than threefold as compared to aqueous solutions, due to more efficient atomization and burning characteristics. The leaching and extraction procedures are extremely rapid; as many as 100 samples may be analyzed per day, yielding 800 determinations, and the technique is adaptable to field use. The proposed method was compared to total digestion methods for geochemical reference samples as well as soils and stream sediments from mineralized and unmineralized areas. The partial leach showed better anomaly contrasts than did total digestions. Because the proposed method is very rapid and is sensitive to pathfinder elements for several types of ore deposits, it should be useful for reconnaissance surveys for concealed deposits. ?? 1984.
Additional publication details
A rapid, partial leach and organic separation for the sensitive determination of Ag, Bi, Cd, Cu, Mo, Pb, Sb, and Zn in surface geologic materials by flame atomic absorption