National Geochemical Atlas: The Geochemical Landscape of the Conterminous United States
Derived from Stream Sediment and other Solid Sample Media Analyzed by the National
Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) Program
This CD presents maps derived from a subset of the National Uranium Resource Evaluation
(NURE) Hydrogeochemical and Stream Sediment Reconnaissance (HSSR) data.
Approxiamately 260,000 samples were analyzed in the continental U.S. and consisted of
solid samples, including stream, lake, pond, spring, and playa sediments, and soils.
Data for eleven elements were analyzed and included on this release of the National
Geochemical Atlas CD: Na, Ti, Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Ce, Hf, Pb, Th, and U.
The National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) program of the Department of Energy (DOE) collected
a vast amount of chemical data on sediment, soil, and water samples from the United States in the
late 1970's and early 1980's. This element of the NURE program was known as the Hydrogeochemical
and Stream Sediment Reconnaissance (HSSR). The NURE HSSR data have long been available to the public
in a variety of formats, ranging from the original paper reports produced by the DOE (see Averett, 1984),
to comprehensive digital releases on CD-ROM by the U.S. Geological Survey in the last few years
(Hoffman and Buttleman, 1994; 1996), to digital releases on the Internet of reformatted and cleaned
data (Smith, 1998). While these publications remain the best sources of the complete, primary data,
and are accompanied by documentation of the sampling protocols, sample characteristics, and analytical
methods, they are difficult to use for geochemical research, especially when the study area covers a
wide area of the United States. This publication is intended to allow the rapid visualization of the
geochemical landscape of the United States using the NURE HSSR data. Here, the user is relieved of
the responsibility of selecting and processing the raw data; this was done in the preparation of the
CD. A powerful geographic-information system (GIS) tool, the ArcView program of Environmental Systems
Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), is provided to allow one to probe and manipulate the processed NURE
data. Within the ArcView environment, multiple presentations of the NURE are provided, ranging from
color-coded point maps, to bitmap-images on a national scale, to interpreted maps based on geologic
and hydrologic units. Because the NURE HSSR data have been processed by the author for the production
of this CD, the user must use a degree of caution in interpreting the maps produced here, and in using
the data files found on the disc. One must understand the methods used in deriving the data on this
CD in order to judge the significance of any particular map or data feature. Fortunately, the raw
data used in the production of this CD are available in digital form (Hoffman and Buttleman, 1996),
for examination by sophisticated users.