Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 248–264 | Cite as

Fast application of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry aboard ship: how good is the new portable Spectro Xepos analyser?

  • Katharina Wien
  • Dirk Wissmann
  • Martin Kölling
  • Horst D. Schulz


A technique for onsite application of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry to samples from sediment cores aboard a research vessel was developed and tested. The method is sufficiently simple, precise, and fast to be used routinely for high-resolution analyses of depth profiles as well as surface samples. Analyses were performed with the compact high-performance energy-dispersive polarisation X-ray fluorescence (EDPXRF) analyser Spectro Xepos. Contents of the elements Si, Ti, Al, Fe, Mn, Mg, Ca, K, Sr, Ba, Rb, Cu, Ni, Zn, P, S, Cl and Br were simultaneously determined on 200–225 samples of each core within 24 h of recovery. This study presents a description of the employed shipboard preparation and analysis technique, along with some example data. We show land-based datasets that support our decisions to use powder samples and to reduce the original measuring time for onboard analyses. We demonstrate how well the results from shipboard measurements for the various elements compare with the land-based findings. The onboard geochemical data enabled us to establish an element stratigraphy already during the cruise. Correlation of iron, calcium and silicon enrichment trends with an older reference core provided an age model for the newly retrieved cores. The Spectro Xepos instrument performed without any analytical and technical difficulties which could have been caused by rougher weather conditions or continuous movement and vibration of the research vessel. By now, this XRF technique has been applied during three RV Meteor cruises to approximately 5,000 Late Quaternary sediment samples from altogether 23 gravity cores, 25 multicorer cores and two box cores from the eastern South Atlantic off South Africa/Namibia and the eastern Atlantic off NW Africa.


Debris Flow Inductively Couple Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry Gravity Core Reference Core Inductively Couple Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry Analysis 
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Karsten Enneking, Silvana Hessler, Luzie Schnieders and Rainer Zahn are gratefully acknowledged for helping with the laboratory work on the RV Meteor. We owe thanks to the captains and all crew members of the RV Meteor expeditions M 57-1, M 58-1 and M 58-2a & b, and to Ralph Schneider who as chief scientist took care of organisation and the selection of sites during RV Meteor cruise M 57-1. We are grateful to Rik Tjallingi and Christoph Vogt for helpful suggestions throughout this paper, which also benefited greatly from valuable comments by two reviewers. Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft as part of the DFG-Research Center ’Ocean Margins’ of the University of Bremen No. RCOM0206.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Wien
    • 1
  • Dirk Wissmann
    • 2
  • Martin Kölling
    • 1
  • Horst D. Schulz
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich 5 GeowissenschaftenUniversity of BremenBremen
  2. 2.Spectro Analytical InstrumentsKleveGermany

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