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Title: Development of geochemical identification and discrimination by Raman spectroscopy : the development of Raman spectroscopic methods for application to whole soil analysis and the separation of volcanic ashes for tephrachronology
Author: Surtees, Alexander Peter Harrison
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 4903
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2015
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Geochemistry plays a vital role in our understanding mechanisms behind major geological systems such as the Earth's crust and its oceans (Albarède, F. 2003). More recently, geo-chemistry has played a vital role in the field of forensic investigation and in period dating. Forensic soil samples have been traditionally analysed via examinations of colour, texture and mineral content by physical or chemical methods. However, these methods leave any organic or water-soluble fractions unexamined. Tephrochronology (the dating of sedimentary sequences using volcanic ash layers) is an important tool for the dating and correlation of sedimentary sequences containing archives and proxies of past environmental change. Its importance in this area has increased since the increased free carbon in out atmosphere has made radio-carbon dating unreliable. Tephrochronology requires successful geo-chemical identification of the tephras, a method reliant on electron probe micro-analysis (EPMA) to analyse major element composition. However, it is often impossible to differentiate key tephra layers using EPMA alone. Raman spectroscopy is commonly used in chemistry, since vibrational information is specific to the chemical bonds and symmetry of molecules, and can provide a fingerprint by which these can be identified. Here, we demonstrate how Raman spectroscopy can be used for the successful discrimination of mineral species in tephra through the analysis of individual glass shards. We further demonstrate how, with the use of oxidative preparation methods, Raman spectroscopy can be used to successfully discriminate between soil types using mineralogy as well as the organic and water-soluble fractions of soils.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Raman spectroscopy ; Principal Components Analysis (PCA) ; Soil ; Tephra ; Forensic analysis ; Discrimination ; Hekla ; Tephrachronology ; Volcanic ash layers