A mountainous terrain, the eastern Pontide tectonic belt, located in northeastern Turkey, contains more than 60 known volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits that differ in reserves (0.1-30 million tonnes) and grades. Soil geochemistry is conventionally used in exploration programs to discover concealed VMS deposits in the region. In the present study, Pb and As element pair were used as pathfinder elements to investigate the relationship of their anomalies to a completely delineated ore deposit (Killik VMS deposit) in an orientation survey that served as a natural physical model. Two hundred forty soil samples were analyzed in the present study. The two elements, which represent the opposite ends of the mobility range, revealed high contrast and overlapped each other at the location of the ore deposit due to enhancement of the anomalies by hydromorphic dispersion, which is an indication that soil samples would produce reliable results. The successful delineation of the deposit is remarkable considering the rough topography and the climatic limitations. Previously the extremely moist and temperate climate was thought to cause excessive leaching of the trace element pathfinders from the ore deposits to produce extensive anomalies usually extending away from the mineralization thus, leading to erroneous results and/or extensive anomalous areas. But the present research has shown that the method can be used effectively if the sampling and data evaluation is carefully conducted. (C)\ 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.