The Application of Field Sampling and Imaging Spectroscopy to Detect Lead Contamination in Soil

Authors: Everett Spackman*, California State Polytechnic University
Topics: Physical Geography, Soils
Keywords: Physical Geography, Soil Science
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Our study developed a method of utilizing imaging spectroscopy and GIS to visualize and analyze heavy metal deposition in soil. We used systematic field sampling of soil contamination utilizing a handheld XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence scanner) to detect the level of lead deposition in our study site, the San Luis Obispo Wildlife Area. The wildlife area is currently leased by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to SLOSA (the San Luis Obispo Sportsmen’s Association) for use as a recreational shooting range. Field sampling was done via XRF, performed around randomly selected targets using Stratified Random Sampling Scheme, in which five samples were taken and averaged in random direction and distance within a 10 meter buffer around the selected target. A spatial analysis detailing the extent of the contamination was created, detailing the extent and density of the lead deposits. Use of a hyperspectral sensor aboard an aerial drone scanning was prohibited by interference from dense perennial grasses. During the Fall of 2019-2020, when the grass density is lower, scanning will commence, with comparisons made between the XRF and drone data to determine the effectiveness of aerial sensors to detect lead content in soil. The implications for successive implementation are boundless; the ability to utilize a quick yet inexpensive method of obtaining and mapping soil data in larger areas such as wildlife areas, or in difficult terrain, such as quarries or mountainsides, would create future opportunities to create effective visualizations and analysis of soil composition.

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