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blog of the State Geologist of Arizona
In October 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program was informed of a serious data quality issue within the Inorganic Section of the Energy Geochemistry Laboratory (EGL), located in the USGS Central Energy Resources Science Center (CERSC) in Lakewood, Colorado. This data quality issue pertains to analyses performed using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). In the Inorganic Section, ICP-MS analyses are used to measure the concentrations (amounts) of trace elements and rare earth elements in water samples and in extracts prepared from solid samples, such as coal and rock. This data quality issue is the second major data quality issue within the Inorganic Section of the EGL. The previous issue adversely affected data quality and scientific research over the time frame 1996-2008. Notices regarding the previous data quality issue can be found on the USGS Energy Resources Program web site and on the ScienceDirect web site.
After the October 2014 data quality issue was reported, a series of reviews were undertaken, initiated both within and outside the USGS. These reviews were necessary to fully understand the extent of data quality loss that occurred within this section of the EGL. From these reviews, the USGS has learned that this most recent data quality issue potentially affected ICP-MS analyses from 2008-2014. A listing of potentially affected analytical jobs can be found on the USGS Energy Resources Program web site: