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Open-File Report 2006–1339

Water-Chemistry Data for Selected Springs, Geysers, and Streams in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2003–2005

By James W. Ball, R. Blaine McCleskey, D. Kirk Nordstrom, and JoAnn M. Holloway


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Water analyses are reported for 157 samples collected from numerous hot springs, their overflow drainages, and Lemonade Creek in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) during 2003–2005. Water samples were collected and analyzed for major and trace constituents from ten areas of YNP including Terrace and Beryl Springs in the Gibbon Canyon area, Norris Geyser Basin, the West Nymph Creek thermal area, the area near Nymph Lake, Hazle Lake, and Frying Pan Spring, Lower Geyser Basin, Washburn Hot Springs, Mammoth Hot Springs, Potts Hot Spring Basin, the Sulphur Caldron area, and Lemonade Creek near the Solfatara Trail. These water samples were collected and analyzed as part of research investigations in YNP on arsenic, antimony, and sulfur redox distribution in hot springs and overflow drainages, and the occurrence and distribution of dissolved mercury. Most samples were analyzed for major cations and anions, trace metals, redox species of antimony, arsenic, iron, nitrogen, and sulfur, and isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen. Analyses were performed at the sampling site, in an on-site mobile laboratory vehicle, or later in a U.S. Geological Survey laboratory, depending on stability of the constituent and whether it could be preserved effectively.

Water samples were filtered and preserved onsite. Water temperature, specific conductance, pH, Eh (redox potential relative to the Standard Hydrogen Electrode), and dissolved hydrogen sulfide were measured onsite at the time of sampling. Acidity was determined by titration, usually within a few days of sample collection. Alkalinity was determined by titration within 1 to 2 weeks of sample collection. Concentrations of thiosulfate and polythionate were determined as soon as possible (generally minutes to hours after sample collection) by ion chromatography in an on-site mobile laboratory vehicle. Total dissolved-iron and ferrous-iron concentrations often were measured onsite in the mobile laboratory vehicle.

Concentrations of dissolved aluminum, arsenic, boron, barium, beryllium, calcium, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, potassium, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, sodium, nickel, lead, selenium, silica, strontium, vanadium, and zinc were determined by inductively-coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry. Trace concentrations of dissolved antimony, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, lead, and selenium were determined by Zeeman-corrected graphite-furnace atomic-absorption spectrometry. Dissolved concentrations of total arsenic, arsenite, total antimony, and antimonite were determined by hydride-generation atomic-absorption spectrometry using a flow-injection analysis system. Dissolved concentrations of total mercury and methyl mercury were determined by cold-vapor atomic-fluorescence spectrometry. Concentrations of dissolved chloride, fluoride, nitrate, bromide, and sulfate were determined by ion chromatography. Concentrations of dissolved ferrous and total iron were determined by the FerroZine colorimetric method. Concentrations of dissolved nitrite were determined by colorimetry or chemiluminescence. Concentrations of dissolved ammonium were determined by ion chromatography, with reanalysis by colorimetry when separation of sodium and ammonia peaks was poor. Dissolved organic carbon concentrations were determined by the wet persulfate oxidation method. Hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios were determined using the hydrogen and CO2 equilibration techniques, respectively.

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Posted September 2008

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Suggested citation:

Ball, J.W., McCleskey, R.B., Nordstrom, D.K., and Holloway, J.M., 2008, Water-chemistry data for selected springs, geysers, and streams in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2003-2005, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006–1339, 137 p.




Methods of Sample Collection, Preservation, and Analysis

Water-Chemistry Data

References Cited

Appendix 1

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