Chemical Analysis of Archived Stream-Sediment Samples, Alaska

Open-File Report 2021-1058
By: , and 



Geochemical data are presented for more than 1,500 archived stream-sediment samples and accompanying quality control samples. The archived sediments were reanalyzed to improve the stream geochemical dataset for Alaska and to support ongoing U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studies. Sediment samples were primarily from the USGS Mineral Resources Program’s sample archive in Denver, Colorado, but a few were from the Alaska Geological & Geophysical Surveys’ Geologic Materials Center in Anchorage, Alaska. All samples were submitted to the USGS contract laboratory, AGAT Laboratories, for analysis. All samples were analyzed using a 60-element analytical method involving fusion of the sample by sodium peroxide, dissolution of the fusion cake by nitric acid, and elemental analysis by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy. Additionally, 106 samples from the Nixon Fork area were analyzed by a second multi-element method involving decomposition by a mixture of hydrochloric, nitric, perchloric, and hydrofluoric acids and the elemental analysis of the resulting solution by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy. The latter method was used because the detection limit is lower for several elements including As, Cd, Pb, and Sb. Mercury concentrations in 296 samples from southeast Alaska were determined using a cold-vapor atomic absorption spectrometry method. The concentration data from the archived samples are presented along with concentration data from the standard reference material that was submitted with the samples.

Suggested Citation

Wang, B., Case, G.N.D., Granitto, M., Labay, K.A., Shew, N.B., Ingraham, A.D., Bueghly, Z.C., Azain, J.S., Karl, S.M., and Kelley, K.D., 2021, Chemical analysis of archived stream-sediment samples, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1058, 13 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Sample Selection
  • Analytical Methods Used
  • Data Evaluation
  • Data
  • Appendix 1. Elemental Concentration Data for Archived Stream Sediment Samples from Alaska Reanalyzed in 2019 and the Accompanying Standard Reference Materials
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Chemical analysis of archived stream-sediment samples, Alaska
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2021-1058
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211058
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals, Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center, Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center
Description Report: vi, 13 p.; 2 Tables; Data Release
Country United States
State Alaska
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details