We have applied partial digestion procedures, primarily oxalic acid and aqua regia leaches, to several regional geochemical reconnaissance studies carried out using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES) analytical methods. We have chosen to use these two acids because the oxalic acid primarily attacks those compounds formed during secondary geochemical processes, whereas aqua regia will digest the primary sulfide phases as well as secondary phases. Application of the partial digestion technique has proven superior to total digestion because the concentration of metals in hydromorphic compounds and the sulfides is enhanced relative to the metals bound in the unattacked silicate phases. The aqua regia digestion attacks and leaches metals from the mafic chain silicates and the phyllosilicates (coordination number of VI or more), yielding a characteristic geochemical signature, but does not leach appreciable metal from many other silicates. In order to interpret the results from these leach studies, we have initiated an investigation of a large suite of hand-picked mineral separates. The study includes analyses of about two hundred minerals representing the common rock-forming minerals as well as end-member compositions of various silicates, oxides, sulfides, carbonates, sulfates, and some vanadates, molybdates, tungstates, and phosphates. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of leaching by acids of particular lattice sites in specific mineral structures. ?? 1987.
Additional publication details
Mineralogical basis for the interpretation of multi-element (ICP-AES), oxalic acid, and aqua regia partial digestions of stream sediments for reconnaissance exploration geochemistry