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An innovative method for nondestructive analysis of cast iron artifacts at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania

January 1, 2011

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting research at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (fig. 1; see sidebar, page 53) in southeastern Pennsylvania to determine the fate of trace metals, such as arsenic, cobalt, and lead, released into the environment during the iron-smelting process. Arsenic is a carcinogen, cobalt is a suspected carcinogen, and lead can cause severe health problems.

Iron ore containing elevated quantities of trace metals was smelted at Hopewell Furnace during its 113 years of operation (1771-1883). The ore used at Hopewell Furnace was obtained from local mines, mainly the Jones and Hopewell mines, which were within 5 miles (8 km) of the furnace. The iron ore deposits were formed during the early Jurassic period about 200 million years ago. The deposits are mineralogically similar and contain abundant magnetite, the chief iron mineral, and accessory minerals enriched in arsenic, cobalt, copper, and other metals.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title An innovative method for nondestructive analysis of cast iron artifacts at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
DOI
Authors Ronald A. Sloto, Martin F. Helmke
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Park Science
Series Number
Index ID 70155063
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pennsylvania Water Science Center