Geochemistry of unconsolidated sediments in the US from the RASS database

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Frequently anticipated questions:


What does this data set describe?

Title:
Geochemistry of unconsolidated sediments in the US from the RASS database
Abstract:
This dataset contains geochemical data for unconsolidated sediments (stream sediments, lake sediments, etc.) collected by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) personnel and analyzed in the analytical laboratories of the Geologic Division of the USGS. These data represent analyses of sediment samples collected in support of various USGS programs. The data were originally entered into the in-house Rock Analysis Storage System (RASS) database which was used by the Geologic Division from the early- 1970's through the late-1980's to archive geochemical data. An unpublished CD-ROM was developed in 1996 that contains the RASS data in GSSEARCH format. That CD was used to generate this data set.
  1. How might this data set be cited?
    U.S. Geological Survey, 2001, Geochemistry of unconsolidated sediments in the US from the RASS database: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?
    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -175.908
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: 0
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 77.64
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 1
  3. What does it look like?
  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?
    Beginning_Date: 1965
    Ending_Date: 1988
    Currentness_Reference:
    Sample collection and analysis period
  5. What is the general form of this data set?
    Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form: map
  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?
    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?
      This is a vector data set. It contains the following vector data types (SDTS terminology):
      • Point (199850)
    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?
      Horizontal positions are specified in geographic coordinates, that is, latitude and longitude. Latitude and longitude values are specified in decimal degrees. The horizontal datum used is North American Datum of 1927.
      The ellipsoid used is Clarke 1866.
      The semi-major axis of the ellipsoid used is 6378206.4.
      The flattening of the ellipsoid used is 1/294.98.
  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?
    sedimentsrass.dbf
    Geochemical sample submitted for analysis (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)
    SUBNAME
    Submitter's name, name of the individual who submitted the samples to the laboratory for analysis.
    TAGNUMBER
    Unique identification number assigned by the laboratory.
    FIELDNO
    Field number assigned by the submitter designated in the SUBNAME field.
    LATITUDE
    Latitude of sample site reported in degrees, minutes, and seconds (ddmmss).
    LATDIR
    Direction north (N) or south (S) of the equator.
    LONGITUD
    Longitude of the sample site reported in degrees, minutes, and seconds (ddmmss).
    LONGDIR
    Direction east (E) or west (W) of the 0 meridian (Greenwich).
    LATDD
    Latitude of sample site reported in Decimal Degress.
    LONGDD
    Longitude of sample site reported in Decimal Degress.
    SMPLTYPE
    Sample type, nature of material collected for sample.
    ValueDefinition
    BUnconsolidated sediment
    METHCOLL
    Sample collection method, character of sample
    ValueDefinition
    ASingle (grab)
    BComposite
    CChannel
    DOther
    SMPLSRC
    Source of sample
    ValueDefinition
    AOutcrop
    BMine
    CDump or prospect pit
    DFloat
    EDrill hole, well
    FMarine
    GOther
    HStream
    ISpring
    JLake
    KAquaduct, canal, irrigation ditch
    LAtmosphere
    S_FE_
    Iron concentration (percent) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_MG_
    Magnesium concentration (percent) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_CA_
    Calcium concentration (percent) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_TI_
    Titanium concentration (percent) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_MN
    Manganese concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_AG
    Silver concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_AS
    Arsenic concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_AU
    Gold concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_B
    Boron concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_BA
    Barium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_BE
    Beryllium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_BI
    Bismuth concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_CD
    Cadmium concenration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_CO
    Cobalt concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_CR
    Chromium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_CU
    Copper concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_LA
    Lanthanum concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_MO
    Molybdenum concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_NB
    Niobium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_NI
    Nickel concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_PB
    Lead concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_SB
    Antimony concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_SC
    Scandium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_SN
    Tin concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_SR
    Strontium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_V
    Vanadium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_W
    Tungsten concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_Y
    Yttrium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_ZN
    Zinc concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_ZR
    Zirconium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    S_TH
    Thorium concentration (parts per million) as determined by semi-quantitative emission spectrometry.
    AA_AU_PQ
    AA_AU_P
    Gold concentration (parts per million) as determined by partial extraction of the sample followed by atomic absorption spectrometry.
    INST_HGQ
    INST_HG
    Mercury concentration (parts per million) as determined by an instrumental technique such as cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry.
    AA_AS_PQ
    AA_AS_P
    Arsenic concentration (parts per million) as determined by partial extraction of the sample followed by atomic absorption spectrometry.
    AA_CD_PQ
    AA_CD_P
    Cadmium concentration (parts per million) as determined by partial extraction of the sample followed by atomic absorption spectrometry.
    AA_SB_PQ
    AA_SB_P
    Antimony concentration (parts per million) as determined by partial extraction of the sample followed by atomic absorption spectrometry.
    AA_ZN_PQ
    AA_ZN_P
    Zinc concentration (parts per million) as determined by partial extraction of the sample followed by atomic absorption spectrometry.
    AA_CU_PQ
    AA_CU_P
    Copper concentration (parts per million) as determined by partial extraction of the sample followed by atomic absorption spectrometry.
    AA_PB_PQ
    AA_PB_P
    Lead concentration (parts per million) as determined by partial extraction of the sampled followed by atomic absorption spectrometry.
    AA_AG_PQ
    AA_AG_P
    Silver concentration (parts per million) as determined by partial extraction of the sample followed by atomic absorption spectrometry.
    SI_FQ
    SI_F
    Fluorine concentration (parts per million) as determined by specific ion electrode.
    U_INSTQ
    U_INST
    Uranium concentration (parts per million) as determined by an instrumental technique such as fluorimetry.
    AS_PTQ
    AS_PT
    Platinum concentration (parts per million) as determined by fire assay emission spectrometry.
    AS_PDQ
    AS_PD
    Paladium concentration (parts per million) as determined by fire assay emission spectrometry.
    CM_ASQ
    CM_AS
    Arsenic concentration (parts per million) as determined by colorimetry.
    CM_MOQ
    CM_MO
    Molybdenum concentration (parts per million) as determined by colorimetry.
    CM_WQ
    CM_W
    Tungsten concentration (parts per million) as determined by colorimetry.
    JOBNUMBER
    Arbitrary identifier for the analytical process
    S_FE_Q
    Quality indicator for iron concentration
    S_MG_Q
    Quality indicator for magnesium concentration
    S_CA_Q
    Quality indicator for calcium concentration
    S_TI_Q
    Quality indicator for titanium concentration
    S_MNQ
    Quality indicator for manganese concentration
    S_AGQ
    Quality indicator for silver concentration
    S_ASQ
    Quality indicator for arsenic concentration
    S_AUQ
    Quality indicator for gold concentration
    S_BQ
    Quality indicator for boron concentration
    S_BAQ
    Quality indicator for barium concentration
    S_BEQ
    Quality indicator for beryllium concentration
    S_BIQ
    Quality indicator for bismuth concentration
    S_CDQ
    Quality indicator for cadmium concentration
    S_COQ
    Quality indicator for cobalt concentration
    S_CRQ
    Quality indicator for chromium concentration
    S_CUQ
    Quality indicator for copper concentration
    S_LAQ
    Quality indicator for lanthanum concentration
    S_MOQ
    Quality indicator for molybdenum concentration
    S_NBQ
    Quality indicator for niobium concentration
    S_NIQ
    Quality indicator for nickel concentration
    S_PBQ
    Quality indicator for lead concentration
    S_SBQ
    Quality indicator for antimony concentration
    S_SCQ
    Quality indicator for scandium concentration
    S_SNQ
    Quality indicator for tin concentration
    S_SRQ
    Quality indicator for strontium concentration
    S_VQ
    Quality indicator for vanadium concentration
    S_WQ
    Quality indicator for tungsten concentration
    S_YQ
    Quality indicator for yttrium concentration
    S_ZNQ
    Quality indicator for zinc concentration
    S_ZRQ
    Quality indicator for zirconium concentration
    S_THQ
    Quality indicator for thorium concentration

Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)
    • U.S. Geological Survey
  2. Who also contributed to the data set?
  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?
    Smith, David B.
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Box25046, MS 973
    Denver Federal Center
    Denver, Colorado
    United States of America

    1-303-236-1849 (voice)
    1-303-236-3200 (FAX)
    <dsmith@usgs.gov>

Why was the data set created?

These data may be useful for mineral resource evaluation and for defining geochemical baseline values and statistics.

How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?
  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?
    Date: Jan-2001 (process 1 of 1)
    The data were generated by the analytical laboratories of the U.S. Geological Survey over several years, beginning in the early 1960s and ending about 1987. Upon completion of the chemical analysis, the data were stored in the RASS database. An unpublished CD-ROM was developed in 1996 that contains the RASS data in GSSEARCH format. This CD-ROM was used to generated the data set in .dbf format. The RASS DBF file was imported into ArcView 3.2 and an ArcView shapefile was generated which contained 199,850 sample locations (5135 samples were eliminated due to location discrepancies).
  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?
    Bailey, Elizabeth A., Smith, David B., Abston, Carl C., Granitto, Matthew, and Burleigh, Kuuipo A., 2000, National Geochemical Database: U.S. Geological Survey RASS (Rock Analysis Storage System) geochemical data for Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-433.

    Online Links:


How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?
    The samples in this dataset were chemically analyzed by a variety of techniques over a period of time from the early 1960's to the late 1980's. The accuracy of the data varies with the analytical methodology and with the concentration of the element being analyzed. A qualifier such as "N" (less than the detection limit of the analytical method) or "G" (greater than the upper determination limit of the analytical method) accompanies some analytical data values. These qualifiers are defined as follows:

    L = the element was detected by the technique but at a level below the lower limit of determination for the method. The value of the lower limit of determination is given in the adjacent data field.

    G = the element was measured at a concentration greater than the upper determination limit for the method. The upper limit of determination is given in the adjacent data field.

    N = the element was not detected at concentrations above the lower limit of determination for the method. The value of the lower limit of determination is given in the adjacent data field.

    B = the element was requested for analysis by the sample submitter, but for some reason the laboratories did not analyze for this element.

    When appropriate, these qualifying values appear in this dataset as a separate field preceding each element. The attribute, or field name, for the qualifier field is always denoted by the letter "Q". For example, "N" in the "S_ASQ" field preceding an analytical data field labelled "S_AS" would indicate the actual concentration of arsenic (AS) is less than the data value listed, which is the lower limit of determination for the method.
  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?
    Sample locations were determined from USGS topographic maps of various scales. The accuracy is dependant on the scale of the map from which the determination was made as well as the care taken by the individual who made the determination. Unfortnately, some location coordinates were not carefully determined. In other cases, the individual who collected the samples only identified the location as a corner of the quadrangle in which the samples were collected. When submitters reported locations as degrees, minutes, and seconds of latitude and longitude the accuracy should be within a few seconds. When submitters only reported locations as degrees and minutes the accuracy is only to the nearest minute. The base maps, from which latitude and longitude coordinates were determined, use the 1927 North American Datum (NAD27) based on the Clarke 1866 ellipsoid.
  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?
  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?
    This dataset provides chemical data for Fe, Mg, Ca, Na, K, Ti, Mn, Ag, As, Au, B, Ba, Be, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, La, Mo, Nb, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sc, Sn, Sr, U, V, W, Y, Zn, Zr, Th, Tl, F, Hg, Pt, and Pd. In addition, the dataset provides location and descriptive information for each sample. Not all the descriptive fields contain information for a particular sample because not all sample submitters completed all the fields. The analytical methods used were selected by the sample submitter based on the goals of the project and will vary throughout the data set. The predominant analytical methods used for samples in this dataset are:

    Emission Spectrography: Grimes and Marranzino, 1968; Fe, Mg, Ca, Ti, Mn, Ag, As, Au, B, Ba, Be, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, La, Mo, Nb, Ni, Pb, Sb, Sc, Sn, Sr, V, W, Y, Zn, Zr, Th, Ga, Ge, Pd, and Pt.

    Atomic Absorption, partial extraction: O'Leary and Meier, 1986; O' Leary and Viets, 1986; Viets, 1978; Viets, Clark, and Campbell, 1984; Viets, O'Leary, and Clark, 1984; Ward and others, 1969: Ag, Bi, Cd, Cu, Mo, Pb, Sb, and Zn.

    The complete references for all analytical methods used are given below:

    Adrian, B.A. and Carlson, R.R., personal communication, Platinum-group elements and gold by nickel-sulfide fire assay separation and optical emission spectroscopy

    Alminas, H. and Mosier, E.L., 1976, Oxalic-acid leaching of rock, soil, and stream-sediment samples as an anomaly-accentuation technique: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 76-275. 26 p.

    Chao, T.T., Sanzolone, R.F., and Hubert, A.E., 1978, Flame and flameless atomic absorption determination of tellurium in geologic materials: Analytica Chimica Acta, v. 96, p. 251-257.

    Church, S.E., 1981, Multi-element analysis of fifty-four geochemical reference samples using inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry: Geostandards Newsletter, v. 5, p. 133-160.

    Cooley, E.F., Curry, K.J., and Carlson, R.R., 1976, Analysis for the platinum-group metals and gold by fire-assay emission spectroscopy: Applied Spectroscopy, v. 30. P. 52-56.

    Fishman, M.J., and Pyen, G., 1979, Determination of selected anions in water by ion chromatography: U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations 79-101, 30 p.

    Grimes, D.J., and Marranzino, A.P., 1968, Direct-current arc and alternating-current spark emission spectrographic field methods for the semiquantitative analysis of geologic materials: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 591, 6 p.

    Hubert, A.E., and Chao, T.T., 1985, Determination of gold, indium, tellurium and thallium in the same sample digest of geological materials by atomic-absorption spectroscopy and two-step solvent extraction: Talanta, v. 32, no. 7, p. 568-570.

    McKown, D.M., and Knight, R.J., 1990, Determination of uranium and thorium in geologic materials by delayed neutron counting, in Arbogast, B.F., editor, Quality assurance manual for the Branch of Geochemistry, U.S. Geological Survey: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 90-668, p. 146-15

    Mosier, E.L., 1972, A method for semiquantitative spectrographic analysis of plant ash for use in biogeochemical and environmental studies: Applied Spectroscopy, v. 26, no. 6, p. 636-641.

    Mosier, E.L., 1975, Use of emission spectroscopy for the semiquantitative analysis of trace elements in silver and native gold, in Ward, F.N., editor, New and refined methods of trace analysis useful in geochemical exploration: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1408, p. 97-105.

    Mosier, E.L., and Motooka, J.M., 1984, Induction coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry-Analysis of subsurface Cambrian carbonate rocks for major, minor, and trace elements, in Proceedings volume of international conference on Mississippi Valley-type lead-zinc deposits, Oct. 11-14: Rolla, MO, University of Missouri-Rolla, p. 155-165.

    Myers, A.T., Havens, R.G., and Dunton, P.J., 1961, A spectrochemical method for the semiquantitative analysis of rocks, minerals, and ores: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1084-I, p. I207-I229.

    O'Leary, R.M., 1990, Determination of sulfur in geologic materials by iodometric titration, in Arbogast, B.F., editor, Quality assurance manual for the Branch of Geochemistry, U.S. Geological Survey: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 90-668, p. 136-138.

    O'Leary, R.M., and Meier, A.L., 1986, Analytical methods used in geochemical exploration in 1984: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 948, 48 p.

    O'Leary, R.M., and Meier, A.L., 1986, Bismuth, cadmium, copper, lead, silver, and zinc, organic extraction method, in Analytical methods used in geochemical exploration, 1984: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 948,p. 11-13.

    O'Leary, R.M., and Viets, J.G., 1986, Determination of antimony, bismuth, cadmium, copper, lead, molybdenum, silver, and zinc in geologic materials by atomic absorption spectrometry using a hydrochloric acid-hydrogen peroxide digestion: Atomic Spectroscopy, v. 7, no. 1, p. 4-8.

    Orion Research, Inc., 1975, Orion Research Analytical Methods Guide, 7th edition: Cambridge, MA, 20 p.

    Perkin-Elmer Corporation, 1976, Analytical methods for atomic absorption spectrophotometry: Norwalk, CT, Perkin-Elmer Corp., 586 p.

    Perkin-Elmer Corporation, 1977, Analytical methods for atomic absorption spectrophotometry, using the HGA graphite furnace: Norwalk, CT, Perkin-Elmer Corp., 286 p.

    Sutley, S.J., and Mosier, E.L., personal communication, Rb, Cs, Li, Tl by modification of optical emission spectroscopy method of Grimes and Marranzino, 1968

    Thompson, C.E., Nakagawa, H.M., and VanSickle, G.H., 1968, Rapid analysis for gold in geologic materials: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 600-B, p. B130-B132.

    Vaughn, W.W., and McCarthy, J.H., Jr., 1964, An instrumental technique for the determination of submicrogram concentrations of mercury in soils, rocks, and gas: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 501-D, p. D123-D127.

    Viets, J.G., 1978, Determination of silver, bismuth, cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc in geologic materials by atomic absorption spectrometry with tricaprylyl methyl ammonium chloride: Analytical Chemistry, v. 50, no. 8, p. 1097-1101.

    Viets, J.G., Clark, J.R., and Campbell, W.L., 1984, A rapid, partial leach and organic separation for the sensitive determination of Ag, Bi, Cd, Cu, Mo, Pb, Sb, and Zn in surface geologic materials by flame atomic absorption: Journal of Geochemical Exploration, v. 20, p. 355-366.

    Viets, J.G., O'Leary, R.M., and Clark, J.R., 1984, Determination of arsenic, antimony, bismuth, cadmium, copper, lead, molybdenum, silver and zinc in geological materials by atomic-absorption spectrometry: The Analyst, v. 109, p. 1589-1592.

    Ward, F.N., Lakin, H.W., Canney, F.C., and others, 1963, Analytical methods used in geochemical exploration by the U.S. Geological Survey: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1152, 100 p.

    Ward, F.N., Nakagawa, H.M., VanSickle, G.H., and Harms, T.F., 1969, Atomic absorption methods useful in geochemical exploration: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1289, 45 p.

    Watterson, J.R., 1976, Determination of tellurium and gold in rocks to 1 part per billion: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 76-531, 3 p.
  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?
    This data set contains a variety of sample media prepared from unconsolidated sediments. For example, there are samples of unconsolidated sediments that have simply been sieved to specific size fractions before analysis. Unfortunately, the original RASS database had no field for identifying this size fraction. As we upgrade the database, we are adding this information when possible; however, the data set for which this metadata is written does not contain information on the sieve size. There are also samples of various types of heavy mineral concentrates within the data set When these types of samples were properly identified within the RASS database, they were separated into another data set and not included in this data set. However, if the concentrates were not properly identified, they could not be located for exclusion. The upgrading of the RASS data will include identification of the currently unidentified heavy-mineral-concentrate samples.

How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?
Access_Constraints: None
Use_Constraints: None
  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)
    Smith, David B.
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Research Geologist
    Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, MS 973
    Denver, Colorado
    United States

    1-303-236-1849 (voice)
    1-303-236-3200 (FAX)
    dsmith@usgs.gov
  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set?
  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?
    These data are released on the condition that neither the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) nor the United States Government may be held liable for any damages resulting from authorized or unauthorized use. The USGS provides these data "as is" and makes no guarantee or warranty concerning the accuracy of information contained in the data. The USGS further makes no warranties, either expressed or implied as to any other matter, whatsoever, including, without limitation, the condition of the product, or its fitness for any particular purpose. The burden for determining fitness for use lies entirely with the user.
  4. How can I download or order the data?

Who wrote the metadata?

Dates:
Last modified: 07-Dec-2016
Metadata author:
Smith, David B.
U.S. Geological Survey
Research Geologist
Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, MS 973
Denver, Colorado
United States

1-303-236-1849 (voice)
1-303-236-3200 (FAX)
dsmith@usgs.gov
Metadata standard:
Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)

This page is <https://mrdata.usgs.gov/metadata/rasssed.faq.html>
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