The Avaatech XRF Core Scanner: technical description and applications to NE Atlantic sediments
Thomas O. Richter, Sjerry Van Der Gaast, Bob Koster, Aad Vaars, Rineke Gieles, Henko C. de Stigter, Henk de Haas, Tjeerd C. E. van Weering, 2006. "The Avaatech XRF Core Scanner: technical description and applications to NE Atlantic sediments", New Techniques in Sediment Core Analysis, R. G. Rothwell
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X-ray fluorescence (XRF) core scanning provides rapid high-resolution (down to 1 mm) records of chemical composition on split sediment cores. The measurements are non-destructive and require very limited sample preparation. The new Avaatech XRF Core Scanner, operational since 2002, covers the atomic mass range from Al to U. Instrument parameters, especially tube voltage, can be adjusted to provide optimum settings for selected elements or sets thereof. Owing to the nature of the surface of split sediment cores, particularly effects resulting from sample inhomogeneity and surface roughness, results are semiquantitative, yet provide reliable records of the relative variability in elemental composition downcore. Selected case studies from diverse sedimentary settings in the NE Atlantic Ocean illustrate a range of applications of XRF logging data. These include preliminary stratigraphic interpretations (glacial–interglacial cycles), provenance studies of the terrigenous sediment fraction, lithological characterization, early diagenetic processes and distinction between carbonate phases (aragonite v. calcite).
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Marine sediment cores are the fundamental data source for information on seabed character, depositional history and environmental change. They provide raw data for a wide range of research including studies of climate change, palaeoceanography, slope stability, oil exploration, pollution assessment and control, seafloor survey for laying cables, pipelines and construction of seafloor structures. During the last three decades, a varied suite of new technologies have been developed to analyse cores, often non-destructively, to produce high-quality, closely spaced, co-located downcore measurements. These techniques can characterize sediment physical properties, geochemistry and composition in unprecedented detail. Palaeoenvironmentally significant proxies can now be logged at decadal, and in some cases, annual or sub-annual scales, allowing highly detailed insights into climatic history and associated environmental change. These advances have had a profound effect on many aspects of the Earth Sciences and our understanding of the Earth's history.
In this volume, recent advances in analytical and logging technology and their application to the analysis of sediment cores are presented. Developments in providing access to core data and associated datasets, and advances in data mining technology in order to integrate and interpret new and legacy datasets within the wider context of seafloor studies are also discussed.