U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 1998
Forty-two water analyses are reported for samples collected at 8 hot springs and their overflow drainages, two geysers, and two ambient-temperature acid streams in Yellowstone National Park during 1994-95. These water samples were collected and analyzed as part of the initial research investigations on sulfur redox speciation in the hot springs of Yellowstone and to document chemical changes in overflows that affect major ions, redox species, and trace elements. The sulfur redox speciation research is a collaboration between the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Four hot springs, Ojo Caliente, Azure, Frying Pan, and Angel Terrace, were studied in detail. Analyses were performed adjacent to the sampling site or in an on-site mobile lab truck constructed by the USGS, or later in a USGS laboratory.
Water temperature, specific conductance, pH, Eh, D.O., and dissolved H2S were determined adjacent to the sample source at the time of sampling. Alkalinity and F- were determined on-site on the day of sample collection. Thiosulfate and polythionates were determined as soon as possible (minutes to hours later) by ion chromatography (IC). Other major anions (Cl-, SO42-, Br-) also were determined on-site by IC within two days of sample collection. Ammonium, Fe(II), and Fe(total) were determined on-site by ultraviolet/visible spectrophotometry within two days of sample collection. Later in the USGS laboratory, densities were determined. Concentrations of Ca, Mg, Li, Na, and K were determined by flame atomic absorption and emission (Na, K) spectrometry. Concentrations of Al, As, B, Ba, Be, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe(total), K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Pb, Si, Sr, V, and Zn were determined by inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. Trace concentrations of Al and Mg were determined by Zeeman-corrected graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry.
Three important conclusions from the sampling and analyses are: (1) variability in H2S concentrations can be caused as much by sampling and preservation artifacts as by actual variations in water composition over time, (2) historical determinations of S2O32- were subject to overestimation, most likely because of inadequate preservation leading to H2S oxidation, and (3) S2O32- is a common constituent of hot spring waters.
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