Thirty-nine elements in humus and till matrix were compared at 109 sites overlying Ag-As-Cu-Mo-Pb-Zn mineralized occurrences in northeastern New Brunswick to assess humus for anomaly identification. Humus element concentrations were not consistently correlative with maximum or minimum concentrations found in the underlying till or bedrock. The humus demonstrated significantly higher mean elemental concentrations than the till for six specific elements: 9 times greater for Mn, 6 times greater for Cd, 5 times greater for Ag and Pb, 3 times greater for Hg, and double the concentration of Zn. Spatial dispersal patterns for these elements were much larger for humus content than that exhibited by the till matrix analysis, but did not delineate a point source. For elements in till, the highest concentrations were commonly found directly overlying the underlying mineralized bedrock source or within one km down-glacier of the source. The complexity of the humus geochemical patterns is attributed to the effects of post-glacial biogenic, down-slope hydrodynamic and solifluction modification of dispersed mineralization in the underlying till, and the greater capacity of humus to adsorb cations and form complexes with some elements, relative to the till matrix. Humus sampling in areas of glaciated terrain is considered to be mostly valuable for reconnaissance exploration as elements can be spatially dispersed over a much larger area than that found in the till or underlying bedrock. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Comparison of humus and till as prospecting material in areas of thick overburden and multiple ice-flow events: An example from northeastern New Brunswick