Abstract

Analytical methods used in geochemical prospecting for Cu were compared by analysis of samples of residual soil collected in duplicate near a Cu-bearing vein at the Malachite mine, Jefferson County, Colorado. In this area barren or "background" samples have a mean Cu content of 58 p.p.m. (parts per million) and anomalous samples containing Cu derived from the vein have a mean Cu content of 216 p.p.m. Most anomalous samples are above 100 p.p.m. and most barren samples are below. Geochemical prospecting tests, such as the spectrographic, biquinoline, dithizone, and chromograph tests for Cu and the citrate soluble and acid-soluble tests for total heavy metal, are almost as sensitive but are less precise and less accurate than standard quantitative trace analysis. Statistical techniques based chiefly upon the coefficient of variation show that the geochemical prospecting tests differ considerably among themselves in sensitivity, precision, and accuracy. This study indicates that the dithizone and the biquinoline tests for Cu are the best for geochemical prospecting in this area.

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