The National Geochemical Survey - Database and Documentation

 by The United States Geological Survey

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1001

Version 5.0

Updated 2008 September 30: Version 5.0 contains new data, analyzed in 2008, in the states of Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah, plus the territory of Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.

Version 4.0

Updated 2007 July 21: Version 4.0 contains new data, analyzed in 2007, in collaboration with the states of Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Version 3.0

Updated 2006 October 13: Version 3.0 contains new data, analyzed in 2006, in collaboration with the states of Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Version 2.0

Updated 2006 February: Version 2.0 contains new data, analyzed in 2004 and 2005, in collaboration with the states of Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. All databases and maps have been updated.

Abstract. The USGS, in collaboration with other federal and state government agencies, industry, and academia, is conducting the National Geochemical Survey (NGS) to produce a body of geochemical data for the United States based primarily on stream sediments, analyzed using a consistent set of methods.  These data will compose a complete, national-scale geochemical coverage of the US, and will enable construction of geochemical maps, refine estimates of baseline concentrations of chemical elements in the sampled media, and provide context for a wide variety of studies in the geological and environmental sciences.  The goal of the NGS is to analyze at least one stream-sediment sample in every 289 km2 area by a single set of analytical methods across the entire nation, with other solid sample media substituted where necessary. The NGS incorporates geochemical data from a variety of sources, including existing analyses in USGS databases, reanalyses of samples in USGS archives, and analyses of newly collected samples.  At the present time, the NGS includes data covering ~89% of the land area of the US, including samples in all 50 states.

This version of the online report provides complete access to NGS data, describes the history of the project, the methodology used, and presents preliminary geochemical maps for all analyzed elements. Future editions of this and other related reports will include the results of analysis of variance studies, as well as interpretive products related to the NGS data.

Table of Contents:

Background and

groups of data
Datasets within
the NGS

sampling methods
sampling methods

sampling status
Status of the
sampling program

Analytical methods

periodic table
Compare methods,
view maps

county info

Download data
for any area



The National Geochemical Survey Team

Jeffrey N. Grossman

Principal author of this report; database design and data processing; development of geochemical mapping methods; development of computer methods in support of geochemical sampling.

Andrew E. Grosz

Project concept, design, and leadership; development and supervision of sampling protocols and field methods; development of collaborative activities between the USGS and other agencies.

Peter N. Schweitzer

Development of data retrieval software; website programming.

Paul G. Schruben

GIS support; report generation; sample site maps; sample preparation.