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Title: Continuous versus pulse neutron induced gamma spectroscopy for soil carbon analysis

item Yakubova, Galina
item Torbert, Henry - Allen
item Prior, Stephen - Steve

Submitted to: Applied Radiation And Isotopes
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/29/2014
Publication Date: 12/9/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Kavetskiy, A., Yakubova, G.N., Torbert III, H.A., Prior, S.A. 2014. Continuous versus pulse neutron induced gamma spectroscopy for soil carbon analysis. Applied Radiation And Isotopes. 96:139-147.

Interpretive Summary: Maintaining good soil carbon levels is important for soil stewardship, water/nutrient retention, good soil structure, and maintenance of clean water through erosion prevention. Carbon transfer from the atmosphere by plant growth may help mitigate global change through soil carbon storage. All of these require accurate monitoring and assessment of soil carbon to identify best soil management practices. This paper looks at a novel device for routine measurement of soil carbon that is fast and nondestructive (inelastic neutron scattering, INS). We discussed proper INS system calibration and found that the continuous operation mode would be best for field measurements of soil carbon.

Technical Abstract: Neutron induced gamma spectra analysis (NGA) provides a means of measuring carbon in large soil volumes without destructive sampling. Calibration of the NGA system must account for system background and the interference of other nuclei on the carbon peak at 4.43 MeV. Accounting for these factors produced measurements in agreement with theoretical calculations. The continuous NGA mode was twice as fast and just as accurate as the pulse mode, thus this mode was preferable for routine soil carbon analysis.