241 research outputs found

    AMS measurements of cosmogenic and supernova-ejected radionuclides in deep-sea sediment cores

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    Samples of two deep-sea sediment cores from the Indian Ocean are analyzed with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to search for traces of recent supernova activity around 2 Myr ago. Here, long-lived radionuclides, which are synthesized in massive stars and ejected in supernova explosions, namely 26Al, 53Mn and 60Fe, are extracted from the sediment samples. The cosmogenic isotope 10Be, which is mainly produced in the Earths atmosphere, is analyzed for dating purposes of the marine sediment cores. The first AMS measurement results for 10Be and 26Al are presented, which represent for the first time a detailed study in the time period of 1.7-3.1 Myr with high time resolution. Our first results do not support a significant extraterrestrial signal of 26Al above terrestrial background. However, there is evidence that, like 10Be, 26Al might be a valuable isotope for dating of deep-sea sediment cores for the past few million years.Comment: 5 pages, 2 figures, Proceedings of the Heavy Ion Accelerator Symposium on Fundamental and Applied Science, 2013, will be published by the EPJ Web of conference

    Assessment of the radiological impact of a decommissioning nuclear power plant in Italy

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    The assessment of the radiological impact of a decommissioning Nuclear Power Plant is presented here through the results of an environmental monitoring survey carried out in the area surrounding the Garigliano Power Plant. The levels of radioactivity in soil, water, air and other environmental matrices are shown, in which {\alpha}, {\beta} and {\gamma} activity and {\gamma} equivalent dose rate are measured. Radioactivity levels of the samples from the Garigliano area are analyzed and then compared to those from a control zone situated more than 100 km away. Moreover, a comparison is made with a previous survey held in 2001. The analyses and comparisons show no significant alteration in the radiological characteristics of the area surroundings the plant, with an overall radioactivity depending mainly from the global fallout and natural sources.Comment: 13 pages, 6 figures, 2 table

    Assessment of the radiological impact of a decommissioning nuclear power plant in Italy

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    The assessment of the radiological impact of a decommissioning Nuclear Power Plant is presented here through the results of an environmental monitoring survey carried out in the area surrounding the Garigliano Power Plant. The levels of radioactivity in soil, water, air and other environmental matrices are shown, in which {\alpha}, {\beta} and {\gamma} activity and {\gamma} equivalent dose rate are measured. Radioactivity levels of the samples from the Garigliano area are analyzed and then compared to those from a control zone situated more than 100 km away. Moreover, a comparison is made with a previous survey held in 2001. The analyses and comparisons show no significant alteration in the radiological characteristics of the area surroundings the plant, with an overall radioactivity depending mainly from the global fallout and natural sources

    No Fukushima Dai-ichi derived plutonium signal in marine sediments collected 1.5-57km from the reactors

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    Based on AMS analysis, it is shown that no Pu signals from the Fukushima accident could be discerned in marine sediments collected 1.5-57km away from the Fukushima Da-ichi power plant (FDNPP), which were clearly influenced by accident-derived radiocesium. The 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios (0.21-0.28) were significantly higher than terrestrial global fallout (0.182 ± 0.005), but still in agreement with pre-FDNPP accident baseline data for Pu in near coastal seawaters influenced by global fallout and long-range transport of Pu from the Pacific Proving Grounds.This study has been funded by the Norwegian Research Council through its Centre of Excellence (CoE) funding scheme (Project No. 223268/F50)

    Settling the half-life of ⁶⁰Fe: fundamental for a versatile astrophysical chronometer

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    In order to resolve a recent discrepancy in the half-life of ⁶⁰Fe, we performed an independent measurement with a new method that determines the ⁶⁰Fe content of a material relative to Fe55 (t1/2=2.744yr) with accelerator mass spectrometry. Our result of (2.50±0.12)×10⁶yr clearly favors the recently reported value (2.62±0.04)×10⁶yr, and rules out the older result of (1.49±0.27)×10⁶yr. The present weighted mean half-life value of (2.60±0.05)×10⁶yr substantially improves the reliability as an important chronometer for astrophysical applications in the million-year time range. This includes its use as a sensitive probe for studying recent chemical evolution of our Galaxy, the formation of the early Solar System, nucleosynthesis processes in massive stars, and as an indicator of a recent nearby supernova.Part of this work was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Projects No. AP20434 and AI00428 (FWF and CoDustMas, Eurogenesis via ESF)

    Exposure-age constraints on the extent, timing and rate of retreat of the last Irish Sea ice stream

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    We report 23 cosmogenic isotope exposure ages (10Be and 36Cl) relating to the maximum extent and deglaciation chronology of the Irish Sea Ice Stream (ISIS), which drained the SW sector of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. These show that the ISIS failed to reach the Preseli Hills of North Pembrokeshire yet extended southwards to impinge on northern Isles of Scilly (50°N) during the last glacial maximum. Four samples from western Anglesey demonstrate deglaciation of the southern Irish Sea Basin by c. 20-18 ka, and two from the Llŷn Peninsula in northwest Wales, if valid, suggest deglaciation by c. 23-22 ka followed by gradual oscillatory northwards retreat of the ice margin for over 3000 years. An alternative interpretation of our data suggests that ice reached Scilly as late as 22-21 ka then retreated 450 km northwards within the following three millennia, possibly in response to sea level rise and/or intrinsic reorganisation within the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. Samples from upland source areas of the ISIS in NW England and SW Scotland produced exposure ages ≤14.3 ka, suggesting possible persistence of ice in such areas into the Lateglacial Interstade of 14.7-12.9 ka

    Miniaturized data loggers and computer programming improve seabird risk and damage assessments for marine oil spills in Atlantic Canada

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    Obtaining useful information on marine birds that can aid in oil spill (and other hydrocarbon release) risk and damage assessments in offshore environments is challenging. Technological innovations in miniaturization have allowed archival data loggers to be deployed successfully on marine birds vulnerable to hydrocarbons on water. A number of species, including murres (both Common, Uria aalge, and Thick-billed, U. lomvia) have been tracked using geolocation devices in eastern Canada, increasing our knowledge of the seasonality and colony-specific nature of their susceptibility to oil on water in offshore hydrocarbon production areas and major shipping lanes. Archival data tags are starting to resolve questions around behaviour of vulnerable seabirds at small spatial scales relevant to oil spill impact modelling, specifically to determine the duration and frequency at which birds fly at sea. Advances in data capture methods using voice activated software have eased the burden on seabird observers who are collecting increasingly more detailed information on seabirds during ship-board and aerial transects. Computer programs that integrate seabird density and bird behaviour have been constructed, all with a goal of creating more credible seabird oil spill risk and damage assessments. In this paper, we discuss how each of these technological and computing innovations can help define critical inputs into seabird risk and damage assessments, and when combined, can provide a more realistic understanding of the impacts to seabirds from any hydrocarbon release

    The Search for Supernova-produced Radionuclides in Terrestrial Deep-sea Archives

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    An enhanced concentration of 60Fe was found in a deep ocean's crust in 2004 in a layer corresponding to an age of ~2 Myr. The confirmation of this signal in terrestrial archives as supernova-induced and detection of other supernova-produced radionuclides is of great interest. We have identified two suitable marine sediment cores from the South Australian Basin and estimated the intensity of a possible signal of the supernova-produced radionuclides 26Al, 53Mn, 60Fe and the pure r-process element 244Pu in these cores. A finding of these radionuclides in a sediment core might allow to improve the time resolution of the signal and thus to link the signal to a supernova event in the solar vicinity ~2 Myr ago. Furthermore, it gives an insight on nucleosynthesis scenarios in massive stars, the condensation into dust grains and transport mechanisms from the supernova shell into the solar system

    Tracking the 10Be-26Al source-area signal in sediment-routing systems of arid central Australia

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    Sediment-routing systems continuously transfer information and mass from eroding source areas to depositional sinks. Understanding how these systems alter environmental signals is critical when it comes to inferring source-area properties from the sedimentary record. We measure cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al along three large sediment-routing systems ( ∼  100 000 km2) in central Australia with the aim of tracking downstream variations in 10Be–26Al inventories and identifying the factors responsible for these variations. By comparing 56 new cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al measurements in stream sediments with matching data (n =  55) from source areas, we show that 10Be–26Al inventories in hillslope bedrock and soils set the benchmark for relative downstream modifications. Lithology is the primary determinant of erosion-rate variations in source areas and despite sediment mixing over hundreds of kilometres downstream, a distinct lithological signal is retained. Post-orogenic ranges yield catchment erosion rates of  ∼  6–11 m Myr−1 and silcrete-dominant areas erode as slow as  ∼  0.2 m Myr−1. 10Be–26Al inventories in stream sediments indicate that cumulative-burial terms increase downstream to mostly  ∼  400–800 kyr and up to  ∼  1.1 Myr. The magnitude of the burial signal correlates with increasing sediment cover downstream and reflects assimilation from storages with long exposure histories, such as alluvial fans, desert pavements, alluvial plains, and aeolian dunes. We propose that the tendency for large alluvial rivers to mask their 10Be–26Al source-area signal differs according to geomorphic setting. Signal preservation is favoured by (i) high sediment supply rates, (ii) high mean runoff, and (iii) a thick sedimentary basin pile. Conversely, signal masking prevails in landscapes of (i) low sediment supply and (ii) juxtaposition of sediment storages with notably different exposure histories.Financial support was provided by an Australian Research Council grant (DP130104023) to Gerald Nanson and John D. Jansen, by a GeoQuEST Research Centre grant to John D. Jansen and Alexandru T. Codilean, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship to John D. Jansen, and by the Centre for Accelerator Science at ANSTO through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. Martin Struck received an International Postgraduate Tuition Award provided by UOW and a matching scholarship funded by UOW and ANSTO
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