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JPT Nº19

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A TEST OF A NON-CONSUMPTIVE NUCLEAR FORENSICS TECHNIQUE USING PHOTON ACTIVATION ANALYSIS OF FOSSILS AND SOURCE MATRICES

Tyler C. Borgwardt1, Douglas P. Wells1,Darrin C. Pagnac2, Zaijing Sun3, Christian R.Segebade4

 

1 - Department of Physics, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, USA

2 - Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, USA

3 - Nuclear Engineering Program, South Carolina State University, USA

4 – Berlin, Germany

 

Email: tyler.borgwardt@mines.sdsmt.edu
 

 

 

ABSTRACT

Destructive elemental analysis techniques are common tools in paleontological studies. This study successfully tested the non-destructive technique of photon activation analysis (PAA) for multi-element analysis of fossils and their source matrices. Sample pairs were tested to determine if provenance of fossils could be correlated through their elemental composition. PAA was applied to four pairs of samples, a fossil and a source matrix, each with a different stratigraphic/geographic provenance. Thirty-one total elements were identified: Na, Mg, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Zn, As, Se, Br, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Mo, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, Te, I, Cs, Ba, Ce, Sm, Tl, Pb, U. In each sample 19-26 elements were identified. The lowest concentration detected was 150 ng/g for tellurium. Principal component analysis was applied to the trace elements of the samples. The potential for provenance determination was inconclusive, due to the small number of samples; however, sample pairs showed some separation based on provenance and fossils and matrices were readily distinguishable after analysis.

Keywords: Elemental concentration analysis; photon activation analysis; nuclear forensics; non-destructive; non-invasive; non-consumptive; fossil provenance
 

 

RESUMO [in Portuguese]

As técnicas de análises elementares destrutivas são ferramentas comuns nos estudos paleontológicos. Este estudo testou com sucesso a técnica não-destrutiva de análise por activação de fotões (AAF) para análises muti-elementares de fósseis e da suas matrizes rochosas. Pares de amostras foram testados para determinar se a proveniência dos fósseis poderia ser correlacionada através da sua composição elementar. AAF foi aplicada a quatro pares de amostras, um fóssil e a sua rocha matriz, cada um com uma proveniência estratigráfica/geográfica diferente. Foram identificados um total de trinta e um elementos: Na, Mg, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Zn, As, Se, Br, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Mo, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, Te, I, Cs, Ba, Ce, Sm, Tl, Pb, U. Em cada amostra foram identificados 19-26 elementos. A concentração mais baixa detectada foi de 150 ng/g de telúrio. Análise do componente principal foi aplicada aos elementos traço das amostras. O potencial para determinação de proveniência foi inconclusivo devido ao número reduzido de amostras, no entanto, os pares de amostras mostraram alguma separação baseada na sua proveniência e os fósseis e matrizes foram facilmente distinguíveis após as análises.

 How to cite this paper: Borgwardt, T. C., D. P. Wells, D. C. Pagnac, Z. Sun, and C. R. Segebade. 2018. A test of a non-consumptive nuclear forensics technique using Photon Activation Analysis of fossils and source matrices. Journal of Paleontological Techniques 19: 1-14

 

Copyright (c) 2018 by Borgwardt et al. This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attrib-ution 4.0 International License, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.

 

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