Chemical Analyses of Soils and Other Surficial Materials of the Conterminous United StatesEntry ID: USGS_SOIL_CHEMISTRY
Abstract: The following abstract was taken from the the Chemical Analyses of Soils and
Other Surficial Materials of the Conterminous United States Metadata, written
by David B. Smith, Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver,
Colorado. This metadata may be viewed in HTML at
This data set contains geochemical data from soils and other regoliths
collected and ... analyzed by Hans Shacklette and colleagues beginning in 1958 and
continuing until about 1976. The samples were collected at a depth of about 20
cm from sites that, insofar as possible, had surficial materials that were very
little altered from their natural condition and that supported native plants.
The sample material at most sites could be termed "soil" because it was a
mixture of disintegrated rock an organic matter. Some of the sampled deposits,
however, were not soils as defined above, but were other regolith types. These
included desert sands, sand dunes, some loess deposits, and beach and alluvial
deposits that contained little or no visible organic material. The samples
were chemically analyzed by a variety of techniques in the U.S. Geological
Survey laboratories in Denver, CO.
The data set contains 1,323 samples for a sampling density of approximately one
sample per 6,000 square kilometers. The data set is currently the only
national geochemical data set collected and analyzed according to standardized
protocols. The data are most appropriately used to provide information on
background concentrations of elements in soil.
The data was acquired using various chemical analysis methods. In summary the
methods used were: 1)Emission spectrography for Al, Ba, Be, B, Ca, Ce, Cr, Co,
Cu, Ga, Fe, La, Pb, Mg, Mn, Mo, Nd, Ni, Nb, P, K, Sc, Na, Sr, Ti, V, Yb, Y, Zn,
and Zr; 2)EDTA titration for Ca; 3)Colorimetric methods for P and Zn, 4)Flame
photometry for K; 5)Flame atomic absorption for Hg, Li, Mg, Na, Rb, and Zn;
6)Flameless atomic absorption for Hg; 7)X-ray fluorescence spectrometry for Ca,
Ge, Fe, K, Se, Ag, S, and Ti; 8)Combustion for total carbon; and 9)Neutron
activation analysis for U and Th.
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Data Set Citation
Dataset Originator/Creator: Boerngen, Josephine G., Shacklett, Hansford T.
Dataset Title: Chemical Analyses of Soils and Other Surficial Materials of the Conterminous United States
Dataset Series Name: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 81-197
Dataset Release Date: 1981
Dataset Release Place: Denver, Colorado, USA
Dataset Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Issue Identification: 81-197
Data Presentation Form: Tabular data
Start Date: 1958-01-01Stop Date: 1976-01-01
HUMAN DIMENSIONS > BOUNDARIES > ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS
LAND SURFACE > SOILS > CALCIUM
LAND SURFACE > SOILS > CARBON
LAND SURFACE > SOILS > MAGNESIUM
LAND SURFACE > SOILS > PHOSPHORUS
LAND SURFACE > SOILS > POTASSIUM
LAND SURFACE > SOILS > SOIL SALINITY/SOIL SODICITY
LAND SURFACE > SOILS > SOIL CHEMISTRY
LAND SURFACE > SOILS > SULFUR
Quality Forty-six elements were analyzed using various methods. The accuracy of this
data is dependant upon the analytical method and the concentration of the
element being measured. In addition, the analyses were performed in the mid
1960's to late 1970's during which some of the analytical techniques improved.
However, all methods involved with this study were designed to give the total
contents of the element analyzed, and, therefore, earlier measurements are
comparable to those performed later.
Access Constraints NONE
Use Constraints The data set should be properly cited.
Data Set Progress
Distribution Media: ELECTRONIC (WWW)
Distribution Size: 128 Kbytes
Distribution Format: ArcView Shapefile
Role: TECHNICAL CONTACT
Email: bjohnson at usgs.gov
U.S. Geological Survey 954 National Center
Province or State: VA
Postal Code: 20192
Boerngen, Josephine G., and Shacklette, Hansford T., 1981, Chemical
Analyses of Soils and Other Surficial Materials of the Conterminous
United States: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 81-197,
U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO.
Myers, A. T., Havens, R. G., and Dunton, P. J., 1961, A
spectrochemical method for the semiquantitative analysis of rocks,
minerals, and ores: U.S. Geol. Survey Bull. 1084-I, p. 207-229.
Ward, F. N., and Lakin, H. W., 1954, Determination of traces of
antimony in soils and rocks: Anal. Chemistry, v. 26, no. 7, p. 1168-1173.
Extended Metadata Properties
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2000-02-16
Last DIF Revision Date: 2016-11-18