Paper No. 259-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
INVESTIGATING AS CHALCOPYRITE POTENTIAL SOURCE OF BORON CONTAMINATION IN NEWARK BASIN, NEW JERSEY
The Newark basin was formed by the rifting of Pangea during the Triassic Period. It was filled with 6 to 8 km of lacustrine sedimentary rock intruded by basaltic flows. The latter formed diabase intrusions with associated sulfide deposits. Groundwater in the Newark Basin contains elevated levels of Boron with 5% of the wells in two New Jersey towns containing Boron levels exceeding the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s boron health advisory for children (2,000 μg/L). Elevated levels of Boron have been shown to cause testicular atrophy and developmental abnormalities in animals and can potentially have an adverse effect on the human reproduction system. This research project aims to analyze chalcopyrite ore that surrounds a diabase intrusion to determine if it would be the source of Boron contamination in the Newark Basin. We hypothesize that the sulfide ore (e.g. chalcopyrite) associated with diabase intrusions would contain elevated levels of Boron because private wells with the highest elevation are clustered in a small area, suggesting a localized source of contamination. To test this hypothesis, collected chalcopyrite samples from 21 miles away and analyzed chalcopyrite samples for concentrations Boron and other trace elements using with Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). The SEM and LA-ICP-MS results refute our hypothesis. Our chalcopyrite samples are shown to lack boron-bearing minerals under SEM. LA-ICP-MS reveals that the concentrations of Boron in our chalcopyrite samples are very low (<8 μg/g) and thus cannot be a major source of contamination.