Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The focus of this study involved the analysis of sedimentary rocks by using atomic absorption spectroscopy. There are three classifications of sedimentary rocks: organic, formed as a result of vital activity of organisms such as coal; non-organic (chemical), formed in the process of evaporation of concentrated mineral solution such as limestone, dolomite, gypsum, salt and chert; and clastic (fragmental), formed from pre-existing rocks as a result of their fragmentation followed by further hardening and cementing such as conglomerate, breccia, sandstone, siltstone and shale. There are various analytical methods for analyzing sedimentary rocks, all of which require dissolving and digestion of the rock samples. The next step after digestion involves the burning off of organic content, and followed by separation of the silicates from all the other elements. Once the separation is achieved, then the analysis for the elements in the samples is performed using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). The study focused on the analysis of four elements: aluminum, calcium, iron and magnesium. Standard solutions of aluminum, calcium, iron and magnesium were made with their concentrations ranging from 500-1000 ppm. Four unknown samples of sedimentary rocks labeled: XGP1, XGP2, XGP3 and XGP4, were analyzed by atomic absorption spectroscopy at instrument settings that are specific to each element. The percentage of each element in the samples used was determined and is reported in the body of the thesis.

Included in

Chemistry Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.