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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: X-ray core scanners as a novel environmental forensic tool

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Environmental forensics describes the process where scientific evidence is used to support legal investigations against companies that may have caused pollution.

Image courtesy of E. Romano (ISPRA)
Core locations in Augusta Harbour

In a recently commissioned study by ISPRA (Italy), Professor Ian Croudace systematically investigated six sediment cores collected from the highly polluted Augusta Harbour (Sicily) using radiochronological and geochemical methods. One aspect of the research showed the considerable value of using the Itrax X-ray sediment core scanner (co-invented by Croudace) to provide a broad range of high-resolution geochemical data (including elevated Hg, Ba and Se). The Itrax takes 1-2 days to automatically scan a 1 metre core compared with traditional geochemical methods that would typically take two weeks. Its potential contribution to environmental forensic studies is discussed in a forthcoming Springer book - Developments in Environmental Research 'Micro-XRF Studies of Sediment Cores'

Key Contacts

Prof. Ian Croudace

Itrax scan of Core AU10 showing high concentrations of Ba and Hg
Itrax scan of Core AU10








Related Pages

Evidence for the preservation of technogenic tritiated organic compounds in an estuarine sedimentary environment

The macrotidal Severn Estuary has received a broad range of industrial discharges since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. A more recent anthropogenic input to the estuary has been technogenic tritium (specifically organically bound tritium, OBT). This was derived from a specialized industrial laboratory producing custom radiolabeled compounds for life science research and diagnostic testing from 1980 until 2008. This study examined OBT interaction with estuarine sediment by acquiring a broad range of geochemical and sedimentological data from a suite of sediment cores collected from the northern side of the Estuary.


Book Chapter

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