The use of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) combined with liquid collectors greatly improved the reliability of the ‘Metals-in-soil-gas’ (MSG) technique in the late 1990s. To date, the MSG technique has been successfully applied in several locations varying in: commodity type (e.g. gold, base metals and nickel), depth of burial, and climatic regimes (e.g. from semi-arid through to wet temperate). In this paper, two case studies and a pilot study are reported to illustrate the effectiveness of the technique. The results show that in MSG, a suite of chalcophile elements, similar to the association of commodity and pathfinder elements in the deposits, exhibit sharp anomalies above the known sulphide mineralization. Copper and Zn peaks can reach tens of thousands of ppb over a background of <100 ppb for Cu and <200 ppb for Zn. The authors suggest that the MSG technique can be used as a powerful tool for mineral exploration both in residual and exotic overburdens.

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