The philosophy behind the use of stream sediment in mineral exploration is that weathering products from mineral deposits exposed at the surface will be transported downhill and deposited in streams. Elevated concentrations of the ore metal(s) in systematically collected stream sediment samples will therefore often be indicative of mineralisation.
Exploration geochemistry is an obvious discipline to conduct in the process of prospecting for new mineral resources. The data acquired during such surveys may also be used for geological mapping and modelling and environmental studies. The 'Geochemical atlas of Greenland – West and South Greenland' is based on compilation of chemical analyses of stream sediment samples collected from 1977 to 1998 in surveys undertaken by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.