The capability of neutron activation for trace element analysis in sea water and sediment samples of the Northern Adriatic Sea
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In a framework of a more intensive study of the oceanographic phenomenology of the Northern Adriatic Sea, recently undertaken by the O. G. S. of Trieste, the present paper provides some insight into the determination of trace elements in sea water and bottom sediment matrices. Sampling procedure using continuous pumping and filtering and neutron activation analytical techniques are presented and the obtained results briefly discussed. Accounting for the physiography of the basin, for the oceanographic processes and for the different freshwater input, several samples were collected of filtered water in order to set up their properties. Results were obtained throughout the settlement only for long-lived radionuclides based on routine neutron activation: Cr, Ag, Co, Cs, Rb, Sb, Sc, Sr, Zn, U. For each of them, the concentration range was determined and discussed. Results indicate that the Cs, Rb, Sr and U concentration range is readily comparable with that assessed at open seas. On the contrary, for the other elements such as Cr, Ag, Co, Sc, Sb and Zn concentrations are noticeably higher than those found at open seas, mainly as far as samples collected near the sea bottom are concerned. The concentration increase is surely related to the burden of pollutants suffered by rivers. Moreover, the positive concentration gradient experienced toward the bottom, is fully in agreement with the estuarine character of the investigated area and in accordance with the strong decomposition of organic matter taking place in the bottom layer of the basin. Finally, the complexity of the sedimentary pattern in the Northern Adriatic renders it difficult to properly define the element concentration in bottom sediment. Only four samples were chosen as representative of the different sediments and analysed. Long-lived elements obtained are: Ce, Co, Cs, Cr, Rb, Sc, Tb, Yb. Their concentration was found to be related to the geochemical features of the activated matrix.
KeywordsNeutron Activation Danube Delta Select Trace Element Trace Element Study Italian Coast
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