Use of X-Ray Fluorescence to Expedite Sampling to Evaluate and Visualize Soil Lead Concentrations at West Point, NY

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Geography and Environmental Engineering

Publication Date


Publication Title

IGARSS 2020 - 2020 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The concentration of heavy metals, specifically lead, in soil may create unsafe environmental conditions. Unsafe conditions may occur based upon previous exposure to lead, such as particulate pollution from leaded gasoline. Accumulation of lead in the soil is especially concerning due to the detrimental physiological effects soil lead has on populations within residential neighborhoods. This study investigates the efficacy of an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) sensor compared to use of an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) laboratory instrument to measure soil lead concentration through a comparison of 87 soils samples. Findings note a strong correlation between both measurement methods. Additionally, 206 samples were evaluated to visualize soil lead concentrations throughout the residential West Point area. The highest soil lead concentrations are along the former route 9W, at locations associated with buildings that pre-date 1940.

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