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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Soil Dynamics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336148

Research Project: Enhancing Production and Ecosystem Services of Horticultural and Agricultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: Soil carbon analysis using gamma rays induced by neutrons

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

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Branch Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/5/2016
Publication Date: 2/7/2016
Citation: Yakubova, G.N., Kavetskiy, A.G., Prior, S.A., Torbert III, H.A. 2016. Soil carbon analysis using gamma rays induced by neutrons. American Society of Agronomy Branch Meeting. CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Agronomy is a research field where various physics concepts and experimental methods are widely used, particularly in agro-chemistry and soil elemental analysis. The evolution of methodology and instrumentation of nuclear physics combined with the availability of not highly expensive commercial products (portable pulse neutron generators, high efficiency gamma detectors, reliable electronics, and measurement processing software) and the current understanding of neutron interactions with nuclei, has recently made it possible to apply neutron-gamma analyses of soil elemental content for routine agriculture field measurements as well as in the laboratory. Neutron-gamma analyses are based on the registration of gamma lines which appear due to neutron-nuclei interactions. These methods have great advantage over traditional chemical (dry combustion) and physical-chemical methods which are labor extensive and time consuming. Neutron-gamma analyses are non-destructive multi-elemental analyses of large soil volumes that require no sample preparation, and are conducted in situ. The main physical principals, apparatus design, and application of an advanced neutron-gamma approach [i.e., Pulsed Fast/Thermal Neutron Method (PFTNA)] for soil carbon elemental analysis will be discussed. Results of field measurements of soil carbon in comparison with results of traditional chemical analysis and their use for precision geospatial mapping of soil carbon content will also be discussed.