Rare earth elements determination and distribution patterns in sediments of a polluted marine environment by instrumental neutron activation analysis
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Results obtained from the analysis of sediment core samples taken froma fairly polluted marine environment were analyzed for the REE contents todetermine the concentrations of La, Ce, Sm, Eu, Tb, Dy and Yb using instrumentalneutron activation analysis. Core samples were divided into strata of between2 to 3 cm intervals and prepared in the powdered form before irradiating themin a neutron flux of about 5.0 . 1012 n . cm —2s —1 in a Triga Mark II reactor. Down-core concentration profilesof La, Ce, Sm, Eu, Tb, Dy and Yb in 3 core sediments from three sites areobtained. The shale-normalized REE pattern from each site was examined andlater used to explain the history of sedimentation by natural processes suchas shoreline erosion and weathering products deposited on the seabed and furnishingsome baseline data and/or pollution trend occurring within the study area.The shale-normalized REE patterns also showed that LREE in the sediment samplesexhibit enrichment relative to HREE particularly, La and Sm showing enrichmentcompared to the ratios in shale. REE concentrations of 124 µg/g at thesurface of sediment collected at two of the three sites were found to decreaseto 58 and 95 µg/g, respectively. This was of particular interest whenit is used to explain the anomalies occurring in the marine sediment as aresult of geochemical processes over a long period of time. Changes in concentrationsfrom surface to bottom of the sediments ratioed to Sm concentrations and thecorrelation between concentrations of Sm and these elements were also investigatedand correlation coefficients were calculated for all REEs and sites. Validationof the method used was done using a Soil-7 SRM.
KeywordsShale Activation Analysis Neutron Activation Analysis Core Sample Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis
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