Geoscience BC Report 2015-02

Investigation of Tree Sap as a Sample Medium for Regional Geochemical Exploration in Glacial Sediment Covered Terrains: A Case History from the Endako area, North-Central BC (NTS map sheets 093F/14 & /15 and 093K/02 & /03)
by D.R. Heberlein, C.E. Dunn and E. Hoffman

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Report Description
Geoscience BC Report 2015-02 presents the results of a geochemical study undertaken to determine if tree sap could provide a useful and possibly unique geochemical signal to buried mineralization. Congealed sap samples were collected in two sampling campaigns (September 2013 and May 2014) from the surfaces of more than 100 white spruce trees from over an area of 1000 km2 surrounding the Endako Mo mine. For comparison, soil pH measurements were made, and Ah soils were collected at the same locations. Lodgepole pine sap was also obtained from a few sites in order to compare the spruce sap chemistry with that of pine. An additional database of element concentrations in pine bark collected in the 1990s from the same general area also was available for comparison.

It is concluded that if appropriate sampling protocols are followed spruce sap is an effective sample medium for regional scale exploration for porphyry Mo mineralization and there seems no impediment to using this method with other styles mineralization. Spruce sap is easy to collect and can be submitted for analysis with no further preparation required. Element concentrations are mostly in the ppb range and so precision is likely to be inferior to that usually obtained from the analysis of soils or live vegetation. However in areas of suspected contamination the sap might be a preferred sample medium since it derives its chemical signature from deep in the ground. Furthermore the digestion procedure developed for this project further excludes potential dust contamination from the analytical sample. The congealed sap contains the geochemical signature of major elements that are surplus to the trees' metabolic function as well as pathfinder elements that perform no known function in plant growth and health, and so become readily exuded.

Suggested Reference
Heberlein, D.R., Dunn, C.E. and Hoffman, E. (2015): Investigation of Tree Sap as a Sample Medium for Regional Geochemical Exploration in Glacial Sediment Covered Terrains: A Case History from the Endako area, North‐Central BC (NTS map sheets 093F14, 093F15, 093K03 and 093K02); Geoscience BC, Report 2015-02, 49 pg.

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