Canadian Database of Geochemical Surveys

Help Topics

Overview

The "Canadian Geochemical Surveys" website is large and complex, reflecting the underlying complexity of the surveys that have been catalogued.  A large amount of context-sensitive help is available to assist end-users.  Help can be accessed by clicking on the Help icon that appears repeatedly throughout the website.  Alternatively, the main Help page can be accessed via the left-hand side menu at any time.  By default, Help accessed via the Help icon will open in a new browser window.

This Help page is divided into several sections.  Content in these topic sections can also be accessed by clicking on the Help icon found on the related web page.

Accessibility
Describes web content accessibility for this site.
Getting Started
Describes how to begin using the website to view the contents of the "Canadian Database of Geochemical Surveys".
Pages
Describes the categories of metadata pages found on this site.
Sections
Describes the sections found on the metadata pages.
Extended Metadata Subsections
The Extended Metadata section found on some Survey metadata pages contains a lot of detailed information, divided into several subsections.  These are described here.
Miscellaneous
Provides help for searching the index map, searching the periodic table, working with the large index tables and using the KML maps available on the site.
Accessibility

The Canadian Geochemical Surveys website has been designed with the needs of people with disabilities in mind and respects WCAG AA as per the requirements of the TBS Standard of Accessibility .  Some features of the website are:

  • Variable font size (use [ control]+/- to increase or decrease the font size).
  • Navigation through the website without the use of a mouse.
  • Text alternatives for images.
  • Labels/headers that can be read by screen reader software.
  • Use of sufficient contrast.

Navigation through the website without a mouse uses standard operations:

  • Tabbing will take the user from one field to the next in a logical sequence.
  • After tabbing to a field, to select/expand a field press the [ enter] key.
  • To make a selection using a radio button, use the arrow keys.
  • To make a selection from a checkbox, use the [ space] bar.

Guidance on navigating around the Index Map Query tool is presented on a separate page, and is directed specifically at either keyboard or screen reader users.

The website also contains several very large tables.  Guidance on working with these tables is also presented on a separate page.

Getting Started

This website is the public interface to the "Canadian Database of Geochemical Surveys".  There are several ways to access the content of the database:

VIEWING a map-based interface
To VIEW the map-based interface, click on Index Map Query on the left-hand side navigation bar.
QUERYING a periodic table interface
To QUERY the periodic table interface, click on Periodic Table on the left-hand side navigation bar.
BROWSING index tables organised by category
To BROWSE the index tables organised by category, click on any of the three table names under Index Tables on the left-hand side navigation bar.  The complete list of available tables can be found in the Index Tables section on the main part of the Home page, under the categories Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.  When an Index Table (e.g. Surveys, Projects, Publications, etc.) is launched, a list of available Surveys (Projects, Publications, etc.), is displayed.  The left-hand column of the Index Table provides a link to the metadata page for the chosen survey (or project, publication, etc.).
USING Internet search engines e.g. Google
When USING Internet search engines to search the site, judicious selection of search terms will often take you directly to the relevant survey, project or publication web page.  Hyperlinks within the web page will then direct you to additional information.
With Google, you can limit your search results to just this site by specifying "site:geochem.nrcan.gc.ca" as one of your search parameters.  For example, to search for surveys in Manitoba which involved Don Hornbrook, enter this search string in Google: site:geochem.nrcan.gc.ca hornbrook manitoba.

After navigating to the index map, the periodic table or index tables, Help for these access methods opens in a new window and is available via the Help icon found on those pages.  Help can always be accessed by clicking on Help on the left-hand side navigation bar.

Pages

The website contains several thousand web pages, but they can be grouped into just a few main categories.  Within each category, the pages all have an identical layout.  The layout can be broken down into a small number of sections, each of which corresponds to a particular class of metadata.  Specific help for each section is found under the Help topic Sections.  The different categories of pages are as follows:

Surveys

The survey metadata page presents information about each survey in the catalogue.  A survey is the principal entity on which the metadata catalogue is based.  A survey is carried out in a specific geographic area, over a defined period of time and by a certain organisation.  A survey generally involves the collection of less than ten to several thousand samples from one or more sample media.  In most cases, the data and other information related to the survey have been released in one or more publications.  The Survey Metadata pages all have a common look and feel, but vary slightly, depending on what information is available.  The following description outlines every element which may appear on the Survey Metadata page, in the order in which they appear:

Survey Grouping, Location and Year of Sampling
The location is given at the level of province or territory.  To the left of the location is a list of the survey "groups" with which this survey has been identified (e.g. till, soil).  The groups are generally based on the sample material collected, but may also be based on other criteria (e.g. indicator minerals).  To the right of the location is the year in which the samples were collected.  If the survey spanned several years, the first year is given.
Survey Title and Location Map
The survey title is a short description, which typically summarises what was collected, where it was collected and when it was collected.  Commonly NTS map sheets are recorded.  A location map showing the survey coverage is displayed to the right of the title.  Beneath the map are icons which enable the user to view different sizes of the map.  The back button can be used to return to the original view of the survey metadata page.  The right-most icon under the map allows the user to download the location map as a KML file.
Organisation
A link to the organisation responsible for collecting the samples is provided beneath the location map.  For some surveys carried out by contractors or university students for example, no link is provided.
External Links
This section is found on some Survey metadata pages and contains hyperlinks to web pages maintained by other organisations.
Primary Publications
This section is found on some Survey metadata pages and highlights the most important publications for the survey.
Extended Metadata
This section is found on some Survey metadata pages and contains detailed information.  A description of the contents of this section can be found in the Help topic Extended Metadata Subsections.
Survey Description
This is a brief description of the survey, summarising details about the survey in a few sentences.
Publication History
This is a tabular list of all of the publications which contain information (data, interpretation, compilation, etc.) about the survey.  A description of the content on the Publication metadata page can be found under the Help topic Publications.
Project History
This is a tabular list of any projects the survey is associated with.  A description of the content on the Project metadata page can be found under the Help topic Projects.
Downloadable Files
For a few surveys, there are online resources that can be downloaded.  These are resources that are not attached to a specific publication.  Publication-specific downloads are found on the web page for the publication.
Geographic Extent
The geographic extent of the survey is reported, as a simple "bounding box", in decimal degrees.
Projects

A project is an administrative concept that has one or two people in charge, a well-defined source of funding and a limited time span.  Geochemical surveys are often carried out in the context of a larger project as are re-analyses and re-publication of survey data.  A single project may involve several distinct surveys.  The Project Metadata pages serve to focus attention on the inter-connectedness of the surveys, and point users to additional information that may otherwise be obscured.  The following description outlines every element which may appear on the page, in the order in which they appear:

Project Leader and Project Time Span
The principal investigator(s) responsible for leading the project and the years over which the project was carried out are given.
Project Title
The project title is a short description with a mix of geographic and administrative information.
Organisation
A link to the organisation responsible for carrying out the project is given.
Project Description
This is a brief description of the project, summarising it in a few sentences.
Survey Coverage
This is a tabular list of all of the surveys that are connected to the project.  A description of the content on the Survey metadata page can be found under the Help topic Surveys.
Project Funding
The organisation or program that provided funding for the project is given.
Publications

The database includes an extensive bibliography of publications related to geochemical surveys.  A single survey may result in multiple publications.  Similarly, a single publication may include information on several surveys.  The amount of information available for each publication is highly variable.  The following description outlines every element which may appear on the Publication Metadata page, in the order in which they appear:

Publication Citation
The publication title is presented in a standardised format.
External Links
This section is found on some Publication metadata pages and provides hyperlinks to web pages maintained by other organisations.
Survey Coverage
This is a tabular list of all of the surveys that are connected to the publication.  A description of the content on the Survey Metadata page can be found under the Help topic Surveys.
GeoScan Records
The table in this section provides a citation for the publication from GeoScan , a bibliographic database for scientific publications of the Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) of Natural Resources Canada.  A link to the GeoScan record is included as is a link to download the publication, if available.
Release Notices
This section provides a link to a reproduction of the the original release notice of the publication as it was published in the GSC Information Circular.
Downloadable Files

For any publication, there may be online resources that can be downloaded, including introductory text, digital data, posters and maps, but most commonly, this will be a PDF copy of the publication.

NGR Open Files

The National Geochemical Reconnaissance (NGR) group at the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) was responsible for collecting lake and stream sediments and waters at a reconnaissance scale across Canada for about 40 years, beginning in the early 1970s.  The samples were collected and processed according to strict sampling and analytical protocols that allow the data to be compared from year to year.  The number of elements that were analysed steadily increased over the years as new techniques became available.  The samples have all been carefully archived, and many of them have been re-analysed by newer techniques. 

The NGR Open File page provides metadata for lake and stream sediment and water published as Open Files by the GSC.  Note that some of the NGR Open Files were also published jointly with the British Columbia Geological Survey under their Regional Geochemistry Survey (RGS) series.  The database from which the metadata were extracted is unilingual and is not being actively maintained, so the web pages are English only.  These pages contain information that is not readily available elsewhere.  The database was designed and created by Paul Stacey.  Martin McCurdy was responsible for maintaining it for several years.

The following description outlines every element which may appear on the page, in the order in which they appear:

Publication Name
The name of the publication and its series number is given e.g. Open File 1220, Open File RGS 27.
Additional Information
The green buttons beneath the Publication Name provide links to additional information and may include: a link to the Publication Page, which provides a full citation and other details for the publication; a link to the Full List of NGR Open Files, and a link to a Data Download for the open file.
Metadata Summary
In this summary, the open file name, previous publications (if applicable), province/territory, funding source, year of collection, survey type, # lake/stream sites, the survey area and the NTS map sheets covered by the survey are given.
Data Summary
A short summary of the data included in the publication is given, including the total number of samples and how they were analysed.  Information about new analyses or reanalsyes is also provided in this section, if applicable.
Location Map
To the right of the Data Summary is a map, locating the survey within Canada and with respect to other published NGR surveys.
Analytical Data
A table summarising the elements analysed, analytical method, detection limit and year of analysis is provided, for sediment and water samples.
Acknowledgements
This section acknowledges all of the people involved in the project, and also includes a reference to funding source for the project.
Collection
The contractor and supervisor for the collection of the samples are given.
Preparation
The contractor and supervisor for the preparation of the samples are given.
Analysis
The contractor and supervisor for the analysis of the samples are given.
Other Information
This section provides miscellaneous, helpful information not found elsewhere on the page.  For example, a note about the sample density changing due to terrain conditions, or why gold detection limits changed for some samples, or that the Open File is one of four that were released for the area, could be included.
GSC Open File Release Notices

The GSC Open File Release Notices page presents a reproduction of the original notice from the GSC Information Circular, providing information about the release and content of a GSC publication.  The wording of the release notice appears exactly as it did when originally published, including errors, if any.

The following description outlines every element which may appear on the page, in the order in which they appear:

Page Title
A header indicating that the text that follows is the release notice for the publication.
Additional Information
The green buttons beneath the Page Title provide links to additional information and may include: links to Publication metadata pages, which include full citations and other details about the publications in the release notice; a link to the Full List of GSC Open File Release Notices.
Release Notice
The release notice from the GSC Information Circular is reproduced in this section.  The language may be English or French or both English and French, reflecting the language used in the original release notice.  At the bottom of every release notice, there is a reference in curly brackets to the circular from which the notice was taken (e.g. {#902, July 1982 circular}).
Analytical Sample Bundles

The Analytical Sample Bundle metadata page summarises information related to the sample bundles, or groups of samples, that were sent to a laboratory for geochemical analysis.  Help is available for most of the elements on the page.  The following description outlines every element that may appear on the Analytical Sample Bundles Metadata page, in the order in which they appear:

Organisation
A link to the organisation responsible for analysing the samples is given.
Year
The year the samples were analysed is given.
Bundle Name
A name for the sample bundle is given.  It contains a mixture of information and is sometimes cryptic.  It may provide the province and/or NTS sheet, the sample medium, the geologist, the analytical method, the size fraction, the laboratory name.
Bundle Type

Ideally, samples are bundled together in ways that correspond to how they are sent to different laboratories for analysis.  In practice, this level of detailed information is frequently not available, and samples are bundled together based on other criteria.  At present, the following criteria are defined for bundle type:

work order

A “work order” is a formal request for a set of samples to be chemically analysed.  The request is issued by the organisation that prepared the samples for analysis.  It is directed to a particular analytical laboratory.

The samples in a work order are usually all of the same type of material, from the same survey, but this is not always the case.  Every sample within a work order is analysed by the same methods.  The data are recorded exactly as returned from the analytical laboratory.  Some of the data may fail QA/QC tests.

lab data
A set of one or more work orders, all submitted to the same laboratory, for analysis by the same set of methods.
survey data
A collection of work orders, which may span several laboratories.  Typically used to group together all of the published data for a single survey, where the original work order details have been lost.
field site measurement
Data collected by in-situ observation at a field site.
field sample measurement
Data collected by in-situ observation on a field sample.
mineral assessment report compilation
A compilation of mineral assessment data from several reports from several agencies.
data compilation
A collection of work orders, which may span several laboratories.  Typically used to group all of the published data for multiple surveys in a regional compilation, where the original work order details have been lost.
microprobe grain mount
A collection of grains, on a single mount.  Each grain is analysed individually by the microprobe.
interpreted data
The data are not primary measurements, but are derived from the intial measurements.  One example is the re-assignment of mineral grains from the original reported suite of minerals to one of the suite of minerals listed in the NTGO KIDD database.
Full List
Clicking on the green button labelled "Full List" displays the entire Analytical Sample Bundles Index Table.  For details on the content of the index table, see here.
Bundle Description
A more detailed explanation of the bundle is given.  In some cases, the Bundle Name is repeated here as a place holder until the database content can be updated.  Additional information on the bundle description section is available here.
Sample Classification
A table identifying the different kinds of samples that are included in a given bundle is presented.  Samples are broken down by survey and by the material that was produced by the preparation lab prior to the sample being sent for analysis (prep lab material).  Additional information on the sample classification section is available here.
Analytical Package Description

Every analytical sample bundle must be assigned to one and only one analytical package.  That is, every bundle is sent to a lab and is subjected to the analyses offered in a specific analytical package.  This section provides information relating to the analytical package used by the laboratory, including the analytical suites within that package.  An analytical suite is a suite of measurements that are made at the same time on a sample, using the same analytical instrument, technique and digestion.  Most commonly the measurements are reported as concentrations of elements in the original solid sample, but also include other measurements like aqueous ions in solution.

Additional information on the analytical package description section is available here.

Analytical Packages

The Analytical Packages metadata page summarizes information related to the analytical package that was used by the laboratory to analyse the samples.  Details include: the laboratory that carried out the analyses, the suites of elements that were analysed, and a list of the methods used to carry out the analysis of the elements in the suite.

Note that an analytical package is tied to a specific laboratory, whereas the suites that comprise the package may be offered by several laboratories.

The following description outlines every element that appears on the Analytical Packages Metadata page, in the order in which they appear:

Analytical Package Name
A name for the package is given.  It contains a mixture of information and the level of information may be variable from package to package.  The name may include the laboratory name, the element(s) analysed, the analytical method, the sample medium.
Full List
Clicking on the green button labelled "Full List" displays the entire Analytical Packages Index Table.  For details on the content of the index table, see here.
Analytical Package Description
Details about the analytical package are provided in this section.  It is divided into several parts which are described more fully in the Analytical Package Description Section Help.
Associated Analytical Sample Bundles

Analytical packages have a 1-to-many relationship with Analytical Sample Bundles.  That is, many different sample bundles may be sent to the same laboratory and subjected to the same analytical package.  The sample bundles may originate from different surveys or organisations, and may span several years.  In this section, the "Associated Analytical Sample Bundles" table lists what sample bundles have been subjected to the analytical package.  Please note, this section appears only if raw data for the analytical package have been loaded into the database.  A link to download all of the bundles that have been analysed by the analytical package is located above the table.  The following information is available for each bundle listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the Analytical Sample Bundle metadata page.  This page provides extensive information about the samples and what was done to them analytically.  A description of the layout and contents of the Analytical Sample Bundle Metadata Page can be found here.
Bundle ID
A unique number assigned to each bundle to help identify the bundle.
Bundle Name
A title or short description to help identify the bundle is given.  The title contains a mixture of information and may include the location, the person who collected the samples, the size fraction and the analytical technique.
Year
The year that the sample bundle was submitted to the laboratory for analysis is given.
Analytical Suites

Analytical packages are comprised of one or more analytical suites.  An analytical suite is a suite of measurements that are made at the same time on a sample, using the same instrument, analytical technique and digestion.  Most commonly the measurements are reported as concentrations of elements in the original solid sample, but may also include other measurements like aqueous ions in solution.  Some examples should make the concept of a suite clearer:

INA analyses are typically obtained on a suite of 30-35 elements.  The analytical technique is "INA" and there is no sample digestion involved.  Each of the 30-35 elements comprises one entry in the suite.  There will also be an extra entry for the sample weight, which can be very important in affecting the data quality and the lower detection limit.

There are numerous INA suites defined in the database.  They differ slightly from one another, in terms of the set of elements analysed, their detection limits, and the precise irradiation conditions.

AAS analyses are often obtained for several elements at the same time (or, more precisely, immediately one after another, with the sample solution remaining in the spectrometer).  In this case, the solid sample must be digested before analysis, and the digestion procedure is highly variable.  Each minor variation in digestion procedure will lead to the definition of a new analytical suite.

Note that the above discussion of analytical suites is based on the existence of high quality metadata describing the analytical procedures.  If the metadata are incomplete, then analytical suites may be defined on much less scientific criteria.

The Analytical Suite Metadata page summarises information related to the measurements made on a sample.  The following description outlines every element that appears on the Analytical Suite Metadata page, in the order in which they appear:

Suite Name
The name of the suite is given and contains a mixture of information.  It may include the lab name, the analytical method, the number of elements analysed, the year, the digestion or the sample medium.  The information included in the suite name is variable.
Full List
Clicking on the green button labelled "Full List" displays the entire Analytical Suites Index Table.  For details on the content of the index table, see here.
Suite Description and General Methodology

A short description of the suite is given, if the information was available from the laboratory.  If information about the suite was limited, the suite name may be repeated here or repeated with some of the shortforms in the suite name expanded.  Any distinguishing characteristics of the suite are noted.

The general methodology section follows the suite description.  It provides a general description of how the measurements in the suite are carried out.  Also included in this section are the instrument used to make the measurement, the sample material (e.g. solid, aqueous) and the sample weight.  If the specifics for the general methodology section were not detailed in the source publication, they are listed as 'unstated'.

Analytical Technique

A hierarchical classification for the analytical technique is presented.  The hierarchy is organized from its most general classification ("Technique") to its most specific (e.g. neutron activation).  The root node for all analytical techniques is always "Technique". An example follows:

Technique >> Radiochemical methods >> Activation analysis >> Neutron activation

Each entry in the classification scheme is hyperlinked to a web page providing more information about that keyword.  For more details on the content of the Keyword metadata page, see here.

Children of a parent node are specializations or subtopics of the parent.  If applicable, children of the given node (e.g. neutron activation in the classification above) are listed beneath the parent node.  For example, the children of the parent 'Neutron activation' are:

INAA | RNAA | Fission

A given node can have only one parent, but one or more children.  If an analytical technique is fully described, it will have no children.  However, in published reports, many techniques are not adequately described.

Analytical Decomposition

A hierarchical classification for the analytical decomposition is presented.  The hierarchy is organized from its most general classification ("Decomposition") to its most specific (e.g. Lefort).  The root node for all analytical decompositions is always "Decomposition". An example follows:

Decomposition >> Acid >> Strong Acid

Each entry in the classification scheme is hyperlinked to a web page providing more information about that keyword.  For more details on the content of the Keyword metadata page, see here.

Children of a parent node are specializations or subtopics of the parent.  If applicable, children of the given node(e.g. Strong Acid in the classification above) are listed beneath the parent node.  For example, the children of the parent 'Strong Acid' are:

4 Acid | HF+…

A given node can have only one parent, but one or more children.  If an analytical decomposition is fully described, it will have no children.  However, in published reports, many decompositions are not adequately described.

Analytical Methods

A table showing the analytical methods found within the suite is presented.  Each quantity measured (e.g. element, etc.) is considered a method.  For example, an "AAS suite" may measure 10 elements using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; each element is considered a method, making 10 analytical methods in the analytical suite.

The following information is available for each method listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the analytical method metadata page for the method.  Details about the content of this page can be found in the Help section for analytical methods.
Method Order
An incremental number to represent the order in which the quantity (e.g. element, oxide) is reported in the standardised spreadsheet.
Method ID
A unique number assigned to each method to help identify the method.
Quantity
The quantity measured (e.g. element, oxide) in the analytical laboratory and the technique used to analyse it is given.
Detection Limit
The detection limit for the element and analytical technique shown in the Quantity column is given.  If the detection limit is variable as is common for Au analyses by neutron activation, the lowest detection limit, known as the determination limit, is given.
Associated Analytical Packages

A table showing the analytical packages to which the analytical suite belongs is given.  Analytical packages are offered by the laboratory and contain one or more suites (e.g an AAS suite) that specify precisely what is to be measured and how.

The following information is available for each method listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the metadata page for the analytical package that contains the suite.  Details about the content of this page can be found in the Help section for analytical packages.
Package ID
A unique number assigned to each package to help identify the package.
Package Name
A name for the package is given.  It contains a mixture of information and the level of information may be variable from package to package.  The name may include the laboratory name, the element(s) analysed, the analytical method, the sample medium.
Analytical Methods

Each analytical suite is comprised of one or more analytical methods.  As an example, consider a straightforward analytical suite of XRF analyses.  This particular suite encompasses fourteen different analytical methods, corresponding to fourteen different elements analysed.  A given method is uniquely characterised by a combination of several different variables:

Quantity
The quantity being measured (e.g. element or oxide; pH).
Units
The measurement units (ppm, grams, etc.) of the measured quantity.
Determination Limit
Both the upper and lower determination limits are considered.
Analytical Technique
By definition, all of the methods in a single analytical suite involve the same analytical technique.
Analytical Decomposition
By definition, all of the methods in a single analytical suite involve the same analytical decomposition.

Note that definitions of analytical suites may become more complex when dealing with poorly documented legacy data.  Corresponding analytical methods may be very vague.

The Analytical Methods metadata page summarises information related to the analytical methods contained in the suite.  The following description outlines every element that appears on the Analytical Methods Metadata page, in the order in which they appear:

Method Name
The name of the method is given.  Commonly the method name includes the quantity being measured, the analytical technique and the decomposition.
Full List
Clicking on the green button labelled "Full List" displays the entire Analytical Methods Index Table.  Note, it is a large table and takes several moments to load.  For details on the content of the index table, see here.
General Details

This section displays details about the analytical method and includes:

Quantity
The quantity that was measured (e.g. element or oxide; pH).
Units
The units of measurement are given (e.g. ppm or percent).
Description
A description of how the quantity was measured is provided.  The level of detail in this section may vary between methods.
Determination Limit
The lower determination limit is given.  It is the lowest amount of the measured quantity that can be detected by the analytical technique.  Some methods have variable detection limits.  For example, INA analyses of samples with low weights may result in elevated detection limits.  The determination limit corresponds to the lowest possible detection limit for a method, obtained under ideal analytical conditions.
Upper Determination Limit
The upper determination limit, if known, is given.  It is the highest amount of the measured quantity that can be detected by the analytical technique.
Analytical Reporting Precision
Refers to the reported precision of the analytical data.  It should bear a close relationship to the accuracy (i.e. reproducibility) of the analytical data.  If an analytical measurement is reproducible to ±1ppm, then the precision of the reported data should be 1.  For many measurements, precision is better at lower concentrations than higher concentrations.  Therefore, a lab may report data to a precision of ±1 (e.g. 7, 28, 49) for values between 1 and 100 ppm, and to a precision of ±5 (e.g. 115, 230, 445) for values greater than 100 ppm.
Analytical Grouping
When methods are slightly different (e.g. Sb by AAS/aqua regia/detection limit = 1 vs Sb by AAS/aqua regia/detection limit = 2), they can be assigned to the same analytical grouping.  Data generated from methods in the same analytical grouping can be combined for use in compilations, for example.  This feature of the database is currently being populated.
Analytical Technique

A hierarchical classification for the analytical technique is presented.  The hierarchy is organized from its most general classification ("Technique") to its most specific (e.g. neutron activation).  The root node for all analytical techniques is always "Technique". An example follows:

Technique >> Radiochemical methods >> Activation analysis >> Neutron activation

Each entry in the classification scheme is hyperlinked to a web page providing more information about that keyword.  For more details on the content of the Keyword metadata page, see here.

Children of a parent node are specializations or subtopics of the parent.  If applicable, children of the given node (e.g. neutron activation in the classification above) are listed beneath the parent node.  For example, the children of the parent 'Neutron activation' are:

INAA | RNAA | Fission

A given node can have only one parent, but one or more children.  If an analytical technique is fully described, it will have no children.  However, in published reports, many techniques are not adequately described.

Analytical Decomposition

A hierarchical classification for the analytical decomposition is presented.  The hierarchy is organized from its most general classification ("Decomposition") to its most specific (e.g. Lefort).  The root node for all analytical decompositions is always "Decomposition". An example follows:

Decomposition >> Acid >> Strong Acid

Each entry in the classification scheme is hyperlinked to a web page providing more information about that keyword.  For more details on the content of the Keyword metadata page, see here.

Children of a parent node are specializations or subtopics of the parent.  If applicable, children of the given node(e.g. Strong Acid in the classification above) are listed beneath the parent node.  For example, the children of the parent 'Strong Acid' are:

4 Acid | HF+…

A given node can have only one parent, but one or more children.  If an analytical decomposition is fully described, it will have no children.  However, in published reports, many decompositions are not adequately described.

Associated Analytical Suites

An analytical suite is comprised of one or more analytical methods.  This section presents a table showing the analytical suite(s) associated with the method detailed on the metadata page.  The following information is available for each suite listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the metadata page for the analytical suite.  Details about the content of this page can be found here.
Suite ID
A unique number assigned to each suite to help identify the suite.
Suite Name
The name of the suite is given and contains a mixture of information.  It may include the lab name, the analytical method, the number of elements analysed, the year, the digestion or the sample medium.  The information included in the suite name is variable.
Laboratories

The Laboratory Metadata page provides details about a specific laboratory that carried out geochemical analysis on a sample bundle i.e. a group of samples sent to the lab.

The following description outlines every element which appears on the Laboratory Metadata page, in the order in which they appear:

Laboratory Name
The name of the laboratory that carried out the geochemical analyses is displayed at the top centre of the page.
Full List
Clicking on the green button labelled "Full List" displays the entire Laboratories Index Table.  For details on the content of the index table, see here.
Laboratory Description
This section provides details about the laboratory and its history, including how ownership of the larger commercial labs has evolved, if applicable.  It contains whatever information could be found in lab catalogues or on the web and therefore the level of descriptive detail is not consistent.  Sometimes a reference to more information is given.  This section is blank if no pertinent details could be found or if the description has not yet been catalogued.
Associated Analytical Packages Table

Analytical packages are offered by a laboratory and contain a suite or suites (e.g an AAS suite) that define what is to be analysed.  The analytical packages that are catalogued in the database for the laboratory detailed on the Laboratory Metadata page, are listed in a table that contains the following information:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the Analytical Package metadata page.  This page provides more detailed information about the analytical package offered by the laboratory and used to analyse a sample bundle.  Additional help for this page is available from the Help topic Analytical Packages.
Package ID
The unique number assigned to each package is given.
Package Name
A name to help identify the package is given.  The name contains a mixture of information and commonly includes the laboratory and the techniques, but may also include the sample medium, the number of elements or a specific list of elements analysed.
Keywords

Keywords to describe geochemical surveys are stored in the Canadian Database of Geochemical Surveys.  When possible, keywords are taken from authoritative sources such as GeoRef and the Canadian Geographic Names Database ( CGNDB).  The Canadian Database of Geochemical Surveys (CDoGS) maintains its own thesaurus of keywords as well, for keywords that could not be found in one of the authoritative sources.

The following description outlines every element which may appear on the Keywords page, in the order in which they appear:

Keyword
The keyword is displayed in the centre of the page.
Full List
Clicking on the green button labelled "Full List" displays the entire Keywords Index Table.  For details on the content of the index table, see here.
Keyword Definition
The definition for the keyword is given.  The source for the definition (e.g. AGI Glossary of Geology, Wikipedia) is also provided.
Hierarchical Classification

For keywords that represent sample types, analytical decompositions and analytical techniques, a hierarchical classification for the type, decomposition or technique is presented in this section.  The hierarchy is organised from its most general classification to its most specific.  In the case of analytical techniques, the most general classification is "Technique" and the most specific classification is "Neutron activation" as shown below.  Note that the root node for all analytical techniques is always "Technique".

Technique >> Radiochemical methods >> Activation analysis >> Neutron activation

Each entry in the classification scheme is hyperlinked to a web page providing more information about that keyword.  For more details on the content of the Keyword metadata page, see here.

Children of a parent node are specializations or subtopics of the parent.  If applicable, children of the given node (e.g. neutron activation in the classification above) are listed beneath the parent node.  For example, the children of the parent 'Neutron activation' are:

INAA | RNAA | Fission

A given node can have only one parent, but one or more children.  If an analytical technique is fully described, it will have no children.  However, in published reports, many techniques are not adequately described.

Category

The keyword category is given, along with a short explanation.  Each keyword is assigned to one of the following seven categories:

Analysed Material
A hierarchical classification of sample material collected in the field, beginning with "sample" .
Analysed Quantities
A classification of measured "quantities".  These quantities are usually analytes that are measured in a laboratory, such as element concentrations, but may include other observations such as sample weights or field observations such as temperature.  For details on the type of analysed quantity, please refer to Subcategory below.
Analytical Methods
A hierarchical classification of analytical methods, beginning with "technique" .
Decomposition Techniques
A hierarchical classification of sample decomposition techniques, beginning with "decomposition" .
Geographic
Place name keywords.
Geological
Geological keywords.
Geological/Geographic
Keywords that have both a geological and geographic aspect.
Subcategory

When the keyword Category is "Analysed Quantities", these measured quantities can be classified into one of the following types:

Sample Classification Explanation
Element

The quantity measured is an element; Cu or Ag, for example.

Oxide

The quantity measured is an oxide; MgO or Al 2O 3, for example.

Gaseous

The quantity is measured from a gas.

Aqueous

The quantity is measured from an aqueous solution.

Gravimetric

The quantity measured is the result of a gravimetric (weight) analysis.

Grain Count

The quantity measured results from the counting of indicator minerals.

Ratio

The quantity measured results from creating a ratio from other measurements or analysed quantities.

Sum

The quantity measured is the result of summing analytical quantities, for example, or summing the total number of grains counted for each indicator mineral.

Inferred

The quantity measured is inferred from other measurements or observations.  For example, indicator mineral grain counts may be reassigned based on a different classification scheme.  This may be done in an effort to apply a uniform classification scheme across several different surveys which used a variety of different schemes.

Count

The quantity measured is obtained by counting the number of “something”, e.g. the number of observations made at a site.

It excludes grain counts, which are classified separately.

Multi-element

Several elements are determined together as a single entity e.g. cold-extractable “heavy metals”.

Associated Analytical Packages

Analytical packages are offered by a laboratory and contain one or more suites (e.g. an AAS suite) that define what is to be analysed.  If the keyword category is “Analytical quantities”, “Analytical techniques” or “Decomposition techniques”, this section lists the analytical package(s) that:

  • are associated with the measurement of the analytical quantity; or
  • use the analytical technique; or
  • use the decomposition.

Note: it is possible that no analytical packages are associated with the keyword category.  In this case, the section will say “None”.

The following information is available for each package listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is hyperlinked to an Analytical Package metadata page.  This page provides extensive information about the laboratory's analytical package that was used to measure the analysed quantity or that used the technique or decomposition (depending on the keyword Category).  A description of the layout and contents of the Analytical Package Metadata Page can be found here.
Package ID
A unique number assigned to each package to help identify the package.
Package Name
A name for the analytical package is given.  It contains a mixture of information and the level of information may be variable from package to package.  The name may include the laboratory name, the element(s) analysed, the analytical method and the sample medium.
Control References

The Control Reference metadata page summarises information about the control reference itself and, if applicable, details of the analytical packages used to analyse the CR, lists the sample bundles the CR was grouped with for analysis and a provides link to download the analytical data for the CR (and the samples analysed with it).

The following description outlines every element that may appear on the Control Reference Metadata page, in the order in which they appear:

Control Reference Name
The name of the control reference is given in the centre, near the top of the page.
Full List
Clicking on the green button labelled "Full List" displays the entire Control Reference Materials Index Table.  For details on the content of the index table, see here.
Control Reference Description

This section provides information about the CR that may include what it is and where it was collected.  The number of control reference analyses that have been loaded into the database to date is also provided.  The level of detail in this section is variable and is based on available information. 

If the number of control reference analyses that have been loaded into the database is greater than zero (>0), the Control Reference Metadata page will also include the following information:

Associated Analytical Packages

Analytical packages are offered by a laboratory and contain one or more suites (e.g an AAS suite) that defines what is to be analysed.  This section lists the analytical package(s) that have been used to analyse the control reference.  The following information is available for each package listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is hyperlinked to an Analytical Package metadata page.  This page provides extensive information about the laboratory's analytical package that was used to analyse the CR.  A description of the layout and contents of the Analytical Package Metadata Page can be found here.
Package Name
A name for the analytical package is given.  It contains a mixture of information and the level of information may be variable from package to package.  The name may include the laboratory name, the element(s) analysed, the analytical method and the sample medium.
Number of Analyses
This column displays the number of analyses for the control reference that have been loaded into the database to date.
Data
In this column, a link is provided to download the analytical data for the control reference.  The MS-Excel® spreadsheet is described in detail here.  The spreadsheet contains data for all of the bundles of samples that have been analysed by the analytical package.  The CR may have been analysed only a few times, or many times within the bundle, depending on what sample bundle it was analysed with.  Filtering on a specific bundle (column Bundle_Key) allows the user to view the data for the CR within the group it was analysed.  Information about the bundles is found in the section "Associated Analytical Sample Bundles" below.
Associated Analytical Sample Bundles

Analytical packages have a 1-to-many relationship with Analytical Sample Bundles.  That is, every sample bundle (group of samples), is sent to a lab and then is subjected to the analyses offered by a specific analytical package.  In this section, the "Associated Analytical Sample Bundles" table lists what sample bundles have been subjected to the analytical package(s) listed in the Associated Analytical Packages table.  The following information is available for each bundle listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Package Index
This column relates to the package(s) listed in the "Associated Analytical Packages" table above (see column Index in the "Associated Analytical Packages" table).  For example, if two packages are listed in the "Associated Analytical Packages" table with Index values 1 and 2, the Package Index column will list the same two index values.  The index values may be repeated more than once depending on how many bundles have been analysed with the package, and this is reflected in the "Bundle Order" column.
Bundle Order
This column incrementally numbers the bundles that have been analysed by each analytical package.  For example, if an analytical package was used to analysed four sample bundles, the bundle order column would have 4 lines all associated with the same package index.  The values in this column are hyperlinked to the Analytical Sample Bundle metadata page.
Bundle Name
A title or short description to help identify the bundle is given.  The title contains a mixture of information and may include the location, the person who collected the samples, the size fraction and the analytical technique.
Number of Analyses
This column lists the number of analyses that have been completed on the control reference.  Totalling the number of analyses with the same package index will equal the number of analyses listed for that same package in the "Associated Analytical Packages" table above.
Year
The year that the sample bundle was submitted to the laboratory for analysis is given.
Organisations

The Organisations page presents information about the group, or organisation, that is responsible for carrying out the geochemical surveys catalogued for the CDoGS web site.  Depending on the information that is available, there may be varying amount of detail on this page.  Currently only a description of the organisation is presented and this has not yet been populated for many organisations.

The following description outlines every element which may appear on the Organisations page, in the order in which they appear:

Name
The name of the organisation is shown in the centre near the top of the page.  If a web site (or web page) for the organisation exists, the name is hyperlinked to that site.
Full List
Clicking on the green button labelled "Full List" displays the entire Organisations Index Table.  For details on the content of the index table, see here.
Organisation Description
This sections provides details about the organisation and its history, if available.  Note, this page is not yet populated for most organisations.
Sections

Each metadata page is broken down into separate sections, each of which corresponds to a particular class of metadata.  The different sections are listed alphabetically below:

Analytical Package Description

An analytical package corresponds to a set of one or more analytical suites that are performed by a specific analytical laboratory.  By definition, an analytical package is tied to a single laboratory, whereas the analytical suites that comprise the package may be offered by several different laboratories.  An analytical suite is based on scientific principles, whereas an analytical package reflects the real-world operations of different laboratories.

The Analytical Package Description section is found on the Analytical Sample Bundle Metadata page and the Analytical Package Metadata page.  The following description outlines every element which appears in the Analytical Package Description section, in the order in which they appear:

Laboratory Name
The name of the laboratory providing the analytical package is given.  The name is hyperlinked to the laboratory's metadata page.
Analytical Package Name
On the Sample Bundle metadata page, the package name is provided below the laboratory name.  On the Analytical Package metadata page, the analytical package name appears at the top of the page.  Beneath the package name (or beneath the laboratory name on the analytical package metadata page), a full description of the analytical package is given, where possible.  In some cases, a slightly longer version of the name is given until the database content can be updated. Downloadable MS-Excel® files are available for analytical packages (see here for more information).
Analytical Suites

A table listing the suites found in the analytical package is given.  Analytical packages contain analytical suites.  An analytical suite is a suite of measurements that are made at the same time on a sample, using the same analytical technique and digestion.  Most commonly the measurements are reported as concentrations of elements in the original solid sample, but may also include other measurements like aqueous ions in solution.  For more information on analytical suites, see here.

The following information is available for each suite listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the analytical suite metadata page for the suite.  Details about the content of this metadata page can be found here.
Suite Name
The name of the analytical suite is given.
Analytical Methods

A table listing the analytical methods contained in the suite is given.  A given analytical method is uniquely characterised by a combination of several different variables:

  • the quantity being measured (e.g. element or oxide)
  • the determination limit
  • the analytical technique
  • the analytical decomposition

For more details about analytical methods, see here.  The Analytical Methods table provides basic metadata that relate to the analytical data in the corresponding downloadable MS-Excel® file.

The following information is available for each method listed in the table, in the order the columns are arranged:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the analytical method metadata page for the method.  Details about the content of this metadata page can be found here.
Column Name
The column name found in the downloadable Ms-Excel® file is given.  The name is commonly a combination of the quantity measured and the analytical technique (e.g. Ba_XRF).
Suite Order
The suite order is a number and is related to the Index column in the Analytical Suites table listed above and also refers to the order the suites are listed in the downloadable Ms-Excel® file.
Method Order
The order the quantity measured (e.g. element, oxide) appears in the downloadable Ms-Excel® file is given.  Each suite will have a method order that starts at one and counts up until the final quantity in the suite is reached.  For example, if 14 elements are measured in a suite, the method order will go from 1 to 14, that is, one method order number is assigned to each element and indicates the order the element occurs in the Ms-Excel® spreadsheet.
Suite ID
The suite is identified by a number.  Commonly many quantities (e.g. elements, oxides) are measured within a suite, and all of these will be identifed by the same suite id number.
Suite Repeat
For routine geochemical data, the suite repeat has a value of zero meaning that the suites are not repeated but are measured only once on a sample.  In the case of indicator mineral grain counts being measured in a suite, the same suite (grain counting) is often applied to several size fractions and therefore the suite repeat value will be 1 for one size fraction (e.g. 0.25-0.5 mm), 2 for a second size fraction (e.g. 0.5-1 mm) and 3 for a third size fraction (e.g. 1-2 mm) indicating that the suite (grain counting) has been repeated 3 times within the same analytical package.
Quantity
The quantity being measured (e.g. element or oxide, pH) by the analytical technique is given.
Units
The measurement units (ppm, grams, etc.) of the measured quantity are given.
Determination Limit
The lower determination limit is given.  It is lowest amount of the measured quantity that can be detected by the analytical technique.
Bundle Description

The analytical sample bundle description captures information about the number of samples analysed, where they were collected, and when they were analysed.  All of the samples in the bundle have gone through the same analytical package.  Details about the actual analysis can be found in the description of the corresponding analytical package.

The Bundle Description section is found on the Analytical Sample Bundle metadata page.  This section contains variable detail but does list any information available to help describe the bundle of samples that were sent to a laboratory for analysis.  This section may include the sample media and where the samples were collected, how and where the samples were analysed, the person who published the data and the name of the publication.  If known, laboratory specifics such as the job number, work order or purchase order number may also be included.  If the bundle contains samples processed for indicator minerals, tables of minerals picked vs identified by microprobe or mapping to the KIDD database may be provided.

Control Reference Description

The Control Reference Description section is found on the Control Reference metadata page.  It captures information about control references (CR) which are used to monitor the results provided by an analytical laboratory.  Accuracy, which reflects how close the analytical result is to the true value, is evaluated by inserting these reference materials, or standards, among the routine samples sent to the lab.

The Control Reference Description section provides information about the CR and may include:

  • where it was collected
  • who collected it
  • what was collected (e.g. stream water, lake sediment)
  • details on how the CR was prepared
  • a list of related CRs
  • a published reference
  • how it is used (e.g. indicator mineral picking studies)
  • anecdotal comments

The amount of detail is variable depending on what information was available for the control reference.

This section also lists the number of analyses for the control reference that have been loaded into the database to date.  For CRs that have not yet had analyses loaded into the database, the number of analyses is zero.  Zero does not indicate that no analyses have been done.

Downloadable Files

Digital data files are available for many of the surveys and publications.  The Description column of the Downloadable Files table provides a brief summary of the file that may include the contents of the file, the file type or any caveats about the file.  After clicking on the 'download' link beside the file description, the file can be either saved or opened.

The files available for download are frequently PDFs of published papers or maps.  A variety of other kinds of data are also available, in a variety of different formats.  These files have been acquired over many years, and are not necessarily in user-friendly formats.  Most downloads, excluding PDFs, are packaged as ZIP files.

Note that some downloads may be very large.  The right-hand column of the Downloadable Files table gives the file size, in bytes.

Extended Metadata

This section is found on some Survey metadata pages and contains detailed information that is described more fully in the Help topic Extended Metadata Subsections.

When the green Extended Metadata button is clicked, a new Survey metadata page is displayed with the Extended Metadata section opened.  This separate page is required in order to accommodate the wide tables used to display the extended metadata.  The left-hand side menu bar disappears to allow the wide tables to display properly.  Clicking on the Standard View button on this page, returns the user back to the basic metadata view in a standard layout, with the left-hand side menu bar visible once again.

The extended metadata are grouped into four major subsections:

Geographic Extent

A set of latitude/longitude bounding box coordinates, defining the extent of the survey is given.  Note that many surveys cover very irregular areas, and a simple bounding box is often not an accurate representation of the extent of the survey.  A description of the survey area is also provided, locating it with respect to NTS map sheets and nearby cities, towns or geographic features, if possible.

GeoScan Records

GeoScan is a bibliographic database for scientific publications of the Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) of Natural Resources Canada.  It includes most publications of the GSC, and the majority of external publications authored by GSC scientists.  A complicating factor is that GeoScan may treat a single GSC Open File as multiple publications, whereas the CDoGS database always treats an Open File as a single publication.

Many GSC publications are available for download via GeoScan.  This is indicated by a link in the rightmost column of the table of GeoScan records.  If the publication does not exist in GeoScan, then this section of the page will be missing.

Keyword Definition

Keyword definitions are taken from standard references such as the AGI Glossary of Geology and Wikipedia.  In cases where the exact keyword (e.g. biogeochemical methods) is not in the standard reference, the definition is given for the closest related word or words, which are listed in square brackets (e.g. [biogeochemistry], [biogeochemical prospecting]).

Laboratory Description

Sample preparation and chemical analysis is performed by a variety of laboratories across Canada.  The facilities may be commercial, government or academic.  Commercial laboratories often have several different facilities across the country.  Commercial laboratories often have complex histories of changes in name, ownership and location.

Organisation Description

The Organisation Description section is found on the Organisations metadata page and captures information about the group responsible for carrying out the geochemical surveys catalogued on the CDoGS web site.  This section contains variable detail but any information about the organisation's mandate and history are provided if available.  For example, it is not uncommon for an organisation to undergo a name change (e.g. provincial geological ministries) or some other kind of evolution and these details will be recorded here.  Currently this section is under construction and many Organisation Descriptions have not yet been populated.

Primary Publication(s)

Information about a survey may be scattered across many publications.  Sometimes, a single publication gives a comprehensive description of the survey, including all of the analytical histories of the samples that were collected.  Such a publication is highlighted as a "primary" publication for the survey.  The assigning of Primary Publications to a survey has been inconsistent, but the database is currently being updated with this information.

Project Description

This is a brief description of the project, summarising it in a few sentences.  It may include the kind of work that was carried out, the reason it was carried out and how the work might be set within the context of a larger program.  If multiple surveys were carried out in the project, the description includes a summary of the area and year of collection for those surveys, as well as the associated publications, if possible.

Project Funding

The organisation or program that provided funding for the project is given.

Project History

Projects are administrative units that link surveys based on project funding, principal investigator, geographic area or year, for example.  Within a given project, several distinct surveys may be carried out, and several sets of samples from earlier surveys may be subjected to re-analysis.  For each project listed in this section, there is a link to a Project Metadata page which gives more detailed information.  A description of the content on the Project metadata page can be found under the Help topic Projects.

Publication History

Information about a survey is generally published in several places.  The Publication History lists as many of the published documents that contain information about the survey that could be found.  There is a link from each item in the list to a Publication Metadata page which may contain additional information about the publication.  A description of the content on the Publication Metadata page can be found under the Help topic Publications.

Release Notices

For older GSC open files, the Release Notices table provides a link to the release notice for the publication as it appeared in the GSC Information Circulars.  For many years, the GSC published information circulars, which were mailed out several times a year to subscribers around the world.  The circular provided a list of GSC publications either recently published, or about to be published as a timed release.  Initially the release notices were very descriptive, containing valuable metata about the publication and survey.  Over time, the notices became less informative, with later ones providing only viewing, sales and price information.

By clicking on the date of the release notice in the table, a reproduction of the release notice can be viewed on a separate web page.

Sample Classification

The Sample Classification section is found on the sample bundle metadata page if the survey has raw data loaded into the database.  A table is presented that classifies the samples sent for geochemical and other analyses based on the sample type and how the sample was prepared prior to being sent for analysis (prep lab material).  The Sample Classification table provides the following information:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.
Sample Count
The total number of samples prepared for geochemical or other analyses.
Survey
Samples are collected within the framework of a survey.  The survey related to the samples is given and a link is provided to the survey's metadata page.  The survey column is blank for control reference samples that were not collected in a survey, but are standard reference material used by the lab.  The same survey may be listed several times, if more than one sample type was collected in the survey (e.g. till, alluvium).
Sample Type

The type of material sampled is given and as noted above, more than one sample type may exist for a survey.  Values in this column are hyperlinked to their corresponding keyword metadata page which provides a definition and the hierarchical classification of the sample type.  In addition to the common sample types such as till, alluvium, sand and gravel, two other sample types are possible:

Unknown
The sample type is not known.  This is a rare occurrence but happens when samples are included in an analytical sample bundle, and data exist for them, but they are not documented in the publication.  In the case of CDoGS, this occurred when data was received directly from a geologist and not retrieved from a publication.  The geologist had the samples analysed, but the results were not published.
Control Reference
The sample is not a routine sample collected in the field, it is a standard, or reference material, inserted into the sample batch to monitor precision and accuracy.
Prep Lab Material

This column identifies the material that was produced by the preparation lab prior to the sample being sent for analysis.  Samples of the same type (e.g. till) from the same survey may be listed with two different prep lab materials (e.g. <2 micron, <63 micron).  Examples of preparation lab material are:

Unknown
If the sample type is unknown (rare), the way the material was prepared is necessarily also unknown.
Undivided
No extra preparation is done to the material.  For example, when the sample type is "control reference", the material has already been processed prior to becoming the control reference and so at this stage, the preparation lab material is considered undivided.
<63 micron
The sample of soil or till, for example, was sieved to <63 microns.
HMC Table Feed
The HMCs were passed over a shaking table.
Filtered Water
The water sample was filtered.
Rock Crushing
The rock sample was crushed.
Control Ref
The column indicates using Yes or No, whether or not the samples are control reference standards used to measure precision and accuracy.
Unknown Source
The column indicates using Yes or No, whether or not the the origin of the samples is known.  In most cases, this column has a value of No, because the origin of the samples is known because the data are taken from documented publications.  In rare cases, this column has a value of Yes.  This indicates that the origin or source of the samples is not documented and most commonly occurs when a few samples are added to an analytical sample bundle, sent to the lab for analysis, have data, but are not published or are not documented by the geologist.
Count
The count indicates how many samples out of the total sample count are blind duplicates + field duplicates.  Blind duplicates are also known as lab duplicates.
Survey Coverage

The table in this section lists all of the surveys that are described in a particular publication or involved in a particular project.  For each survey listed, there is a link to a Survey metadata page that gives more detailed information.  A description of the content on the Survey metadata page can be found under the Help topic Surveys.

Survey Description

The survey is briefly described in a few sentences.

The information used in the survey description is taken from the original, associated publication(s) and therefore the level of detail contained in the description varies between surveys.  A more detailed description can often be found in one of the publications or downloadable files that are listed further down the page.

Extended Metadata Subsections

Extended metadata pages are provided for all of the surveys which have raw data stored in the database, approximately 10% of the total number of catalogued surveys.  Extended Metadata can be accessed by clicking on the green "Extended Metadata" button found on Survey Metadata Pages, if it is available.  The Extended Metadata are divided into four major categories that can be accessed by clicking on the arrow to the left of the category title.  Clicking on the arrow again closes the category.  The four categories are described below:

Sample Locations

In Sample Locations, the total number of sites for the survey is given and a link to a KML map showing the site locations is provided.  To view the location map, a KML viewer such as Google Earth™ is required.  For more information, click on the details hyperlink.

The "NTS map sheets" subsection lists the sample locations according to their map sheets, both 1:50K and 1:250K.  Clicking on the arrow beside "250K map sheets" or "50K map sheets", displays a table with the following information:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.
Sheet
The NTS 1:250K map sheet (e.g. 021G)/The NTS 1:50K map sheet (e.g. 021G/12).
Site Count
The total number of sites found on the map sheet.
Metadata
A link to the metadata for the map sheet from GEOSCAN (bibliographic database for ESS/NRCan) is provided.
PDF
A link to download the NTS map as a PDF is given.

Note: some of the map sheet tables for the 1:50K maps have the Metadata and PDF columns listed twice, once under Sheet 1 and once under Sheet 2.  This is to handle cases where some 1:50K sheets are published as two sheets.  The most common reason for being split into two sheets, is that the map was published as an East half and a West half.  In these cases, links to PDF files are given for both the East and West halves, so that the user will have the entire 1:50K map sheet.

Clicking on the small map-of-Canada icon beneath the table allows the user to download the 1:250K (or 1:50K) NTS index map for Canada, as a KML file.  This map can be opened or saved.  When opening the index map in a kml viewer such as Google Earth™, it may take a few moments to load.  When displayed in a kml viewer, the index map appears as an overlay grid on the map of Canada, showing all of the 1:250K (or 1:50K) map sheets for the country.  Clicking on the small square at the centre of a map sheet displays a pop-up balloon with metadata for the map sheet, as well as a link to download it as a PDF.

Sample Material

The Sample Material section summarizes the sample material(s) collected in the survey.  The Sample Material table provides the following information:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.
Sample Type
The type of sample material collected in the survey (e.g. till, lake sediments).  There may be one or several types of sample material listed.
Sample Count
The number of samples collected for each sample type is listed.  The total number of samples for all sample types may not match the total number of sites in the Sample Locations section.  This can occur when more than one sample is collected at a site.
Sample Hierarchy
In the database, each type of sample material has been organised into a hierarchy from its most general classification (e.g. lithosphere) to its most specific (e.g. basal till).  The root node for all sample types is "sample".  In this column, the sample's hierarchical classification is given.
Preparation Laboratory Sample Material

After samples are collected in the field, they may undergo physical or chemical processing before they are analysed.  In some cases, the processing may happen immediately after collection (acidification of water samples, for example).  Processing procedures may be very simple (sieving to a particular size fraction, for example) or very complex (heavy mineral grain separation).  A single field sample may be split into many distinct physical samples, each of which may then be subjected to different chemical analyses.

This section summarizes what sample types were prepared for analysis, and how.  The Preparation Laboratory Sample Material table provides the following information:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.
Field Sample
The type of sample, or sample medium, that was collected in the field is listed.
Prep Lab Material
The material that was produced by the preparation lab prior to the sample being sent for analysis, is given.
# Collected
The number of samples collected in the field is given.
# Prepared
The number of samples prepared for analysis is given.
# Sent for Analysis
The number of samples sent for analysis is given.

Note: there is a complex relationship between the last three columns, so the numbers may not "add up".  In some cases, the samples are prepared more than once, or a subset is sent for two sets of analyses.

Analytical History

Samples collected during a survey may have a complex history of being sent to different laboratories for different kinds of analyses.  The history may span several years or even decades.  The samples may be bundled together with samples from other surveys.  Subsets of the original survey samples may be sent for analysis.  Ideally, all of the samples in one "analytical sample bundle" should have been sent to the same analytical laboratory at the same time, and been subjected to identical chemical analyses.  In practice, the necessary metadata to capture this history is often missing, and the bundles have to be defined on some other criteria.  The "Analytical History" table summarises this potentially complex history.

It is from the Analytical History table that the data can be downloaded in a standardized format as an MS-Excel® spreadsheet or as a KML file that can be displayed in Google Earth™, for example.

When the Analytical History section is first opened, a table outlining the analytical history is displayed.  It summarises the groups, or bundles, of samples that were sent to a laboratory for analysis.  The table always contains at least one line representing a sample bundle, but may contain more than one line, one for each bundle of samples sent to a lab.  The table displays the following information:

Details
By default, this box is unchecked.  Checking the box in this column opens the Analytical Suites Table for the sample bundle to display the suite(s) of analyses that were carried out on the sample bundle.  It is nested within the table of sample bundles.  For example, if there are 3 lines of Sample Bundles and the Details box is checked for sample bundle/line number 2, the Analytical Suites Table for sample bundle/line 2 opens and is nested beneath line 2 and above sample bundle/line 3.
Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the Analytical Package metadata page for the sample bundle.  This page provides more detailed information about the analytical package offered by the laboratory and used to analyse the sample bundle.  Additional help for this page is available from the Help topic Analytical Packages.
Year
The year the samples were analysed is given.
# Analysed
The total number of samples in the sample bundle that were sent for analysis is given.
Analytical Sample Bundle
A summary of information specific to the samples sent to the lab is given.  This column is commonly a mixture of information and may include, the location (NTS map sheet or province), the year the samples were collected, the sample media, the person or organization responsible for collecting the samples, the size fraction, the analytical technique.  Clicking on the "more" hyperlink for each bundle displays the Analytical Sample Bundle metadata page.  Additional help for this page is available from the Help topic Analytical Sample Bundles.
Spreadsheet
This column provides three possible ways for the user to download the analytical data as an MS-Excel® spreadsheet:
N ( = negative)
Select “N” to view the spreadsheet with “less than” values reported as Negative i.e. <2 becomes -2
H ( = half)
Select “H” to view the spreadsheet with “less than” values reported as Half their value i.e. <2 becomes 1
T ( = text)
Select “T” to view the spreadsheet with “less than” values reported as Text i.e. <2 stays as <2

Depending on how the user's computer is set up, the file will either be opened immediately, or the user will be prompted to save or open the file.  Additional help for working with the spreadsheets is available here.

Analytical Suites Table

The Analytical Suites Table is displayed as a nested table by checking the box in the Details column for a sample bundle in the Analytical History table .  For more information on analytical suites, please refer to the help topic Analytical Suites.

The Analytical Suites Table displays the following information:

Details
By default, this box is unchecked.  Checking the box in this column opens the Analytical Methods Table for the suite.  It is nested within the Analytical Suites table.  For example, if there are 2 suites listed, and the Details box for suite/line 1 is checked, the Analytical Methods Table for suite/line 1 opens and is nested beneath suite/line 1 and above suite/line 2.
Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the Analytical Suite metadata page.  This page provides more detailed information about each suite in an analytical package.  Additional help for this page is available from the Help topic Analytical Suites.
Sample Material
The sample material that was analysed is given (e.g. till, lake sediment).
# Analysed
The total number of samples that were sent for analysis is given.
Prep Lab Material
How the sample was prepared for analysis is given.  For sediment, it is commonly a size fraction (e.g. <177 micron, <63 micron) but for other sample materials, other preparation methods such as "untreated water", "ashed vegetation" will be listed.
Suite
A summary of the analytical procedure (decomposition, technique, instrumentation) used to analyse the samples for a given set of elements.  This column is commonly a mixture of information and may include the laboratory that analysed the samples, the technique, the number of elements analysed or specific elements, the year, the digestion.
Technique
The analytical technique (e.g. AAS, INAA) used to analyse the samples is given.
Decomposition
The method used to dissolve the sample prior to analysis is given, if applicable (e.g. no decomposition of the sample is needed for Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis).
Analytical Methods Table

The Analytical Methods Table is displayed as a nested table by checking the box in the Details column for a suite in the Analytical Suites table .  For more information on analytical methods, please refer to the help topic Analytical Methods.

The Analytical Methods Table displays the following information:

Index
An incremental number to identify each line in the table.  Each index value is a hyperlink to the Analytical Methods metadata page.  This page provides more detailed information about the methods used to determine each element in the suite.  Additional help for this page is available under the Help topic Analytical Methods.
Quantity
The quantity measured in the laboratory or field (e.g. an element or oxide; temperature)
Units
The units of measurement for the measured quantity (e.g. ppm, percent).
Det Limit
The determination limit for the method is given.  Some methods (e.g. Au analyses by INAA) have variable detection limits.  The determination limit corresponds to the lowest detection limit, achieved under optimal analytical conditions (e.g. sufficient sample size, no analytical interferences).
# Analysed
The number of samples analysed by the laboratory.
# Missing
The number of samples that were not analysed by the laboratory (e.g. the sample was lost during transit to the lab or at the lab).
#Discarded
The number of samples removed from the data set for quality control reasons.
Minimum
The minimum value for the quantity (e.g. Zn) for the data set is given.
Percentile
The 25 th, 50 th and 75 th percentile values for the data set are given.
Maximum
The maximum value of the quantity (e.g. Zn) for the data set is given.
KML
A link to a KML map showing the geochemical distribution for the element.  Clicking on the link allows the user to save or open the file.  If a kml viewer such as Google Earth™ is installed, opening the file launches Google Earth and displays the map.  Additional details about the content of the KML maps and help for viewing them is available here.
Miscellaneous

Additonal help is available in the following pages: