Elemental content of mineral licks in the Klamath Mountains, Siskiyou County, California

T. E. Laurent, R. C. Graham, B. D. Lee, W. Tripp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Mineral licks are important components of terrestrial ecosystems that have special value in the annual life cycle of deer and elk. Lick use helps herbivores maintain a proper electrolyte balance even as forage quality changes seasonally. In this study, 5 lick sites, mostly in soft weathered rock or deep soil exposed in roadcuts, were sampled on the Klamath National Forest in northwestern California. Lick samples were analyzed for pH, electrical conductivity (reflective of salinity), and 10 water-extractable elements (Ca, Na, K, Mg, Mn, Fe, I, Cl, S as SO4, and N as NO3). Soil textures varied from sand to silty clay. Lick pH varied from 3.6 to 9.8. Electrical conductivities of the saturated paste extracts varied from 0.2 to 16.7 dS m-1. While iodine is the element that is most often higher in lick samples compared to non-lick materials, no single and consistent soil attribute was overwhelmingly enhanced at the lick sites. Each site had at least one chemical condition that was different from the non-lick comparison samples, so the individual licks may provide different nutrient supplements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalCalifornia Fish and Game
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Deer licks
  • Elk licks
  • Geophagy
  • Klamath mountains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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