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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Wielopolski, Lucian
item Mitra, Sudeep
item Johnsen, Kurt
item Sanchez, Felipe
item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item Prior, Stephen - Steve
item Rogers Jr, Hugo
item Ma, Jin
item Hendrey, George
item Oren, Ram

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/2/2005
Publication Date: 5/2/2005
Citation: Wielopolski, L., Mitra, S., Johnsen, K., Sanchez, F., Torbert III, H.A., Prior, S.A., Rogers Jr, H.H., Ma, J.Y., Hendrey, G., Oren, R. 2005. A non-invasive method of detecting carbon in soil: comparison with soil cores and excavations. In: Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration DOE/NETL: Developing Potential Paths Forward Based on the Knowledge, Science and Experience to Date, May 2-5, 2005, Alexandria, Virginia. p. 9. Article No. 56.

Interpretive Summary: Recent national and international concerns about identifying and implementing effective options for reducing atmospheric CO2 has prompted a search for new technologies to determine the role of soils in sequestering carbon. Standard methods of measuring soil carbon are done by excavation and core sampling techniques, however these procedures are slow, labor intensive and can cause destruction of areas being studied. A new method using inelastic neutron scattering (INS) technology is being evaluated since it is not invasive and assess large volumes of soil without disruption of the soil. This method potentially could reduce analysis cost and time while covering large land areas in a mobile scanning mode which may help track carbon sequestration in farm and forest systems.

Technical Abstract: Growing demands for a non-destructive, precise, and fast determination of soil elemental composition pose special challenges because of the complexity of the soil matrix and nonexistent instrumentation for non-destructive belowground measurements. Although it is widely recognized that availability of such instrumentation would significantly promote our understanding of the subsurface processes and balances, the today’s gold standard for soil analysis are core samples and excavations. Preliminary results of calibrations in a sandpit and in two field studies of a novel multi-elemental soil analysis (MESA) system clearly demonstrate the viability of the instrument to measure non-destructively carbon and other elements in soil. Basic operating characteristics and performance of the system together with the future tasks are discussed herein.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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