a study in sable elemental masters



Singly charged helium (4He+) induced PIXE and INAA techniques were used for the elemental analyses of tin mining tailings. The PIXE procedure gave very good results especially when a correction was implemented for x-ray absorption in the low-Z region of the spectrum. The use of helium ions to induce X-ray emission was found to be adequate, especially in the case of the intermediate light elements (12 < Z < 21) where the nuclear reaction sensitivity decreases. Consequently, helium-induced X-ray emission analysis can be usefully applied for trace element detection of low-Z species in a higher Z matrix as well as high-Z species in a lower Z matrix. This optimized procedure, not requiring the compulsory attainment of secular equilibrium amongst the progenies of the radionuclide of interest, was used to determine the actual concentrations of the elemental content of tailings from the high background radiation tin mining area, Jos, Nigeria. The activity concentrations of the natural series radionuclides were also calculated based on their elemental analyses, playing a complimentary role and providing reliable information about the heads of uranium and thorium series on the study area.

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