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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Wyoming Geological Association


Geology of Yellowstone Park Area; 33rd Annual Field Conference Guidebook, 1982
Pages 323-333

Geochemical Provenance of Anomalous Metal Concentrations in Stream Sediments in the Ashton 1:250,000 Quadrangle, Idaho/Montana/Wyoming

Spencer S. Shannon Jr.


Stream-sediment samples from 1500 sites in the Ashton, Idaho/Montana/Wyoming 1:250,000 quadrangle were analyzed for 45 elements. Almost all samples containing anomalous concentrations (exceeding one standard deviation above the mean value of any element) were derived from drainage basins underlain by Quaternary rhyolite, Tertiary andesite or Precambrian gneiss and schist. Aluminum, barium, calcium, cobalt, iron, nickel, magnesium, scandium, sodium, strontium, and vanadium have an andesite provenance. Most anomalous manganese, europium, hafnium, and zirconium values were derived from Precambrian rocks. All other anomalous elemental concentrations are related to Quaternary rhyolite.

This study demonstrates that multielemental stream-sediment analyses can be used to infer the provenance of stream sediments. Such data are available for many parts of the country as a result of the National Uranium Resource Evaluation. This study suggests that stream-sediment samples collected in the Rocky Mountains can be used either as pathfinders or as direct indicators to select targets for mineral exploration for a host of metals.

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