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Portable XRF applied to regional bedrock mapping in Quebec, Canada.


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Ross, Pierre-Simon ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5302-698X; Beaudette, Mélanie et Daoudene, Yannick (2024). Portable XRF applied to regional bedrock mapping in Quebec, Canada. Journal of Geochemical Exploration , vol. 258 . p. 107397. DOI: 10.1016/j.gexplo.2024.107397.

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Whole-rock geochemistry yields better geological maps of the bedrock, since it allows, for example, visually similar lithologies to be distinguished. However, conventional laboratory geochemistry is not available in the field during a mapping campaign. Portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analyzers can produce fit-for-purpose data rapidly, and constitute a useful complement to conventional geochemistry in a bedrock mapping project. The pXRF data can be employed (i) while still in the field, to orient the mapping campaign; (ii) to prepare a preliminary geological map back in the office; and (iii) to interpolate between conventional whole-rock analyses on the final map. The latter application requires a matrix-matched secondary calibration of the pXRF data to improve its accuracy. Attention must also be given to precision issues, as well as potential instrument drift and analytical interferences. This paper summarizes recent efforts to systematically integrate quantitative pXRF data in government mapping projects within the Province of Quebec (Canada). We first demonstrate how an Olympus Vanta series M pXRF analyzer was commissioned and calibrated. We then show how the pXRF data was systematically acquired and utilized during a 1:50,000 to 1:20,000 mapping campaign in a Precambrian greenstone belt setting (Abitibi Subprovince). Before the mapping began in 2021, volcanic rocks in the study area were supposed to consist of only two mafic tholeiitic formations, called Obatogamau and Bruneau. Integrating pXRF into this project meant that while still in the field and immediately afterwards during preparation of the preliminary map: (1) a marker horizon representing the top of the Obatogamau Formation was chemically identified and then traced laterally; (2) the felsic Waconichi Formation was recognized despite the high metamorphic grade and also traced laterally just above the marker horizon; (3) the Bruneau Formation was shown to be much more continuous than previously known and to have Mg-tholeiites at its base, like in the type locality; (4) the Blondeau Formation was shown to occur above the Bruneau Formation. Within the volumetrically dominant Obatogamau Formation, Fe-tholeiites were also distinguished from visually similar Mg-tholeiites, which allowed these subunits to be traced while still in the field, leading to a more detailed map. Later, after the conventional laboratory chemistry had been received, the final geological map was prepared, but it was very similar to the preliminary map, confirming the satisfactory performance of the pXRF method for this application. However, we do note some issues and limitations even with the latest generation of analyzers.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: geological mapping; portable X-ray fluorescence analyzers; lithological discrimination; accuracy; precision; calibration
Centre: Centre Eau Terre Environnement
Date de dépôt: 06 févr. 2024 21:19
Dernière modification: 06 févr. 2024 21:19
URI: https://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/14193

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