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Geochemical reanalysis of historical U.S. Geological Survey sediment samples from the Zane Hills, Hughes and Shungnak quadrangles, Alaska

January 1, 2015

The State of Alaska’s Strategic and Critical Minerals (SCM) Assessment project, a State-funded Capital Improvement Project (CIP), is designed to evaluate Alaska’s statewide potential for SCM resources. The SCM Assessment is being implemented by the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS), and involves obtaining new airborne-geophysical, geological, and geochemical data. As part of the SCM Assessment, thousands of historical geochemical samples from DGGS, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and U.S. Bureau of Mines archives are being reanalyzed by DGGS using modern, quantitative, geochemical-analytical methods. The objective is to update the statewide geochemical database to more clearly identify areas in Alaska with SCM potential.

The USGS is also undertaking SCM-related geologic studies in Alaska through the federally funded Alaska Critical Minerals cooperative project. DGGS and USGS share the goal of evaluating Alaska’s strategic and critical minerals potential and together created a Letter of Agreement (signed December 2012) and a supplementary Technical Assistance Agreement (#14CMTAA143458) to facilitate the two agencies’ cooperative work. Under these agreements, DGGS contracted the USGS in Denver to reanalyze historical USGS sediment samples from Alaska.

For this report, DGGS funded reanalysis of 105 historical USGS sediment samples from the statewide Alaska Geochemical Database Version 2.0 (AGDB2; Granitto and others, 2013). Samples were chosen from the Zane Hills area in the Hughes and Shungnak quadrangles, Alaska (fig. 1). The USGS was responsible for sample retrieval from the National Geochemical Sample Archive (NGSA) in Denver, Colorado through the final quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) of the geochemical analyses obtained through the USGS contract lab. The new geochemical data are published in this report as a coauthored DGGS report, and will be incorporated into the statewide geochemical databases of both agencies.