A combined chemical preconcentration-spectrographic a-c spark method was developed for the simultaneous estimation of the total content of selected trace elements in vegetation. Procedures for adapting it to the determination of the composition of large numbers of plant and soil samples were established.
Samples collected along one line during biogeochemical and pedogeochemical investigations over a glaciated lead-silver sulphide deposit at Silver Mine, Cape Breton Island, were used to test the method. The mineralized zone, outlined by diamond drilling, is covered by approximately 50 feet of glacial till. The Ag, Be, Co, Cr, Mo, Ni, Pb and Zn contents of mineral soil (B1), organic soil (A1) (humus), lower bark, upper bark, twigs and needles of balsam fir and black spruce, were determined.
Lead anomalies were found in all materials, which accurately outlined the zone of mineralization. Superjacent and lateral hydromorphic anomalies were shown by zinc, silver, chromium and nickel in some or all of the various soil and plant units. Beryllium, cobalt and molybdenum superjacent anomalies were present in the soil, but the distribution patterns of these elements in the vegetation were erratic and could not be properly interpreted.