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Open-File Report 2010-1192

Water-Chemistry Data for Selected Springs, Geysers, and Streams in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2006–2008

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

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Water analyses are reported for 104 samples collected from numerous thermal and non-thermal features in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) during 2006–2008. Water samples were collected and analyzed for major and trace constituents from 10 areas of YNP including Apollinaris Spring and Nymphy Creek along the Norris-Mammoth corridor, Beryl Spring in Gibbon Canyon, Norris Geyser Basin, Lower Geyser Basin, Crater Hills, the Geyser Springs Group, Nez Perce Creek, Rabbit Creek, the Mud Volcano area, and Washburn Hot Springs. These water samples were collected and analyzed as part of research investigations in YNP on arsenic, antimony, iron, nitrogen, and sulfur redox species 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 on-site. Water temperature, specific conductance, pH, emf (electromotive force or electrical potential), and dissolved hydrogen sulfide were measured on-site at the time of sampling. Dissolved hydrogen sulfide was measured a few to several hours after sample collection by ion-specific electrode on samples preserved on-site. 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 a few to several hours after sample collection) by ion chromatography in an on-site mobile laboratory vehicle. Total dissolved iron and ferrous iron concentrations often were measured on-site 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 methylmercury were determined by cold-vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry. Concentrations of dissolved chloride, fluoride, nitrate, bromide, and sulfate were determined by ion chromatography. For many samples, concentrations of dissolved fluoride also were determined by ion-specific electrode. Concentrations of dissolved ferrous and total iron were determined by the FerroZine colorimetric method. 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.

First posted October 21, 2010

For additional information contact:

Chief, Branch of Regional Research, Central Region
Box 25049, Mail Stop 418
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Ball, J.W., McCleskey, R.B., and Nordstrom, D.K., 2010, Water-chemistry data for selected springs, geysers, and streams in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2006–2008: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1192, 109 p.




Purpose and Scope

Methods of Sample Collection, Preservation, and Analysis

Water-Chemistry Data


References Cited


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