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Forensic Sci Int. 2012 Jul 10;220(1-3):33-49. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2012.01.024. Epub 2012 Mar 23.

Development of heavy mineral and heavy element database of soil sediments in Japan using synchrotron radiation X-ray powder diffraction and high-energy (116 keV) X-ray fluorescence analysis: 1. Case study of Kofu and Chiba region.

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Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Tokyo University of Science, 1-3 Kagurazaka, Tokyo 162-8601, Japan.


We have started the construction of a nationwide forensic soil sediment database for Japan based on the heavy mineral and trace heavy element compositions of stream sediments collected at 3024 points all over Japan obtained by high-resolution synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction (SR-XRD) and high-energy synchrotron X-ray fluorescence analysis (HE-SR-XRF). In this study, the performance of both techniques was demonstrated by analyzing soil sediments from two different geological regions, the Kofu and Chiba regions in Kanto province, to construct database that can be applied in the future to provenance analysis of soil evidence from a crime scene. The sediments from the quaternary volcanic lithology of the Chiba region were found to be dominated by heavy minerals of volcanic origin - orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, and amphibole, and the REEs (rare earth elements) within the region showed similar geochemical behavior. On the other hand, four distinct heavy mineral groups were identified in the sediments of the Kofu region, where there is a great variety of underlying bedrock, and the geochemical behavior of the REEs in the sediments also varied accordingly to their geological origins. As such, our study shows that high-resolution SR-XRD data can provide information on the spatial distribution patterns of heavy minerals in stream sediments, playing an important role in determining their likely geographical origin. Meanwhile, the highly sensitive HE-SR-XRF data allow us to study the geochemical behavior of trace heavy elements, especially the REEs in the sediments, providing additional support to further constrain the likely geographical origin of the sediments determined by heavy minerals.

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