Abstract

Since the 1960s orientation geochemical prospecting studies conducted in Ireland have included atmogeochemical, hydrogeochemical and biogeochemical sampling. Results have indicated their potential usefulness in the detection of mineralized localities and the delineation of geological structure and lithology. Recently, orientation biogeochemical prospecting studies have been conductedat the Curraghinalt gold deposit and the Carlingford Cu–Ni–PGE prospect. At Curraghinalt a sample of gorse (Ulex europaeus) collected in a locality of lode gold mineralization contained 10.3 ppb Au (dry weight) in bark tissue. Data indicate that gorse is a viable sample medium for biogeochemical prospecting in this area. At Carlingford grab samples of Bell heather (Erica cinerea) collected during a BHP-Billiton soil geochemical survey contain elevated Au, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni and Zn in the vicinity of geological faults. Preliminary studies indicate that biogeochemical prospecting may be a viable alternative to soil geochemical surveys in rugged terrain due to the speed and ease of biogeochemical sampling.

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