Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Data Series 299

Major- and Trace-Element Concentrations in Soils from Two Geochemical Surveys (1972 and 2005) of the Denver, Colorado, Metropolitan Area

By James E. Kilburn, David B. Smith, L. Graham Closs, and Steven M. Smith

Link to PDF (466 kB)Download Publication
Data Series 299
PDF (466 kB)

This report contains major- and trace-element concentration data for soil samples collected in 1972 and 2005 from the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area. A total of 405 sites were sampled in the 1972 study from an area approximately bounded by the suburbs of Golden, Thornton, Aurora, and Littleton to the west, north, east, and south, respectively. This data set included 34 duplicate samples collected in the immediate vicinity of the primary sample. In 2005, a total of 464 sites together with 34 duplicates were sampled from the same approximate localities sampled in 1972 as well as additional sites in east Aurora and the area surrounding the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Sample density for both surveys was on the order of 1 site per square mile. At each site, sample material was collected from a depth of 0−5 inches. Each sample collected was analyzed for near-total major- and trace-element composition by the following methods: (1) inductively coupled plasma−mass spectrometry (ICP−MS) and inductively coupled plasma−atomic emission spectrometry (ICP−AES) for aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, bismuth, cadmium, calcium, cerium, cesium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, indium, iron, lanthanum, lead, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, niobium, phosphorus, potassium, rubidium, scandium, silver, sodium, strontium, sulfur, tellurium, thallium, thorium, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium, vanadium, yttrium, and zinc; and (2) hydride generation–atomic absorption spectrometry for selenium. The samples collected in 2005 were also analyzed by a cold vapor−atomic absorption method for mercury. This report makes available the analytical results of these studies.

Version 1.0

Posted October 2007

Suggested citation:

Kilburn, J.E., Smith, D.B., Closs, L.G., and Smith, S.M., 2007, Major- and trace-element concentrations in soils from two geochemical surveys (1972 and 2005) of the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 299, 5 p. plus data tables.



Methods of Study

Analytical Protocols

Quality Control

Description of Data Tables


References Cited


1. Elements determined by ICP–MS and ICP–AES with their upper and lower reporting limits

2. Major- and trace-element data for <250–micron soils collected in Denver, Colorado, 1972

3. Major- and trace-element data for <250–micron soils collected in Denver, Colorado, 2005

4. Major- and trace-element data for <2–millimeter soils collected in Denver, Colorado, 2005

Part or all of this report may be presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Acrobat Reader, free of charge or go to for free tools that allow visually impaired users to read PDF files.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Monday, November 28 2016, 12:48:46 PM