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Open-File Report 2014–1067

Multi-Elemental Analysis of Aqueous Geological Samples by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometry

By Todor I. Todorov, Ruth E. Wolf, and Monique Adams

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (527 kB)Abstract

Typically, 27 major, minor, and trace elements are determined in natural waters, acid mine drainage, extraction fluids, and leachates of geological and environmental samples by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). At the discretion of the analyst, additional elements may be determined after suitable method modifications and performance data are established. Samples are preserved in 1–2 percent nitric acid (HNO3) at sample collection or as soon as possible after collection. The aqueous samples are aspirated into the ICP-OES discharge, where the elemental emission signals are measured simultaneously for 27 elements. Calibration is performed with a series of matrix-matched, multi-element solution standards.

First posted April 25, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, MS 964
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Todorov, T.I., Wolf, R.E., and Adams, Monique, 2014, Multi-elemental analysis of aqueous geological samples by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1067, 21 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)







Safety Precautions

Sample Preparation

Calibration Standards

ICP-OES Analysis

Method Performance—Blank Analysis and Reporting Limits

Method Performance—Analyses of CRMs and Duplicate Samples


Appendix 1. Generation of Multicomponent Spectral Fitting (MSF) and Interelement Correction Factors (IEC) Correction Equations

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