Measurement of cosmogenic (32)p and (33)p activities in rainwater and seawater. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have developed a new method for the collection, purification, and measurement of natural levels of (32)P and (33)P in rain, marine particulates, and dissolved constituents of seawater. (32)P and (33)P activities were measured using a recently developed ultra-low-level liquid scintillation counter. Measurement by liquid scintillation counting allows, for the first time, simultaneous measurement of both (32)P and (33)P. Furthermore, (33)P activities are measured with high efficiency (>50%), regardless of the amount of stable phosphorus in the sample. Liquid scintillation also produces energy specific ? spectra which has enabled us to identify previously unrecognized ?-emitting contaminants in natural samples. In order to remove these contaminants, new methods of purification have been developed which utilize a series of precipitations and anion and cation exchange columns. Rainwater and dissolved seawater samples were extracted from large volumes of rain- and seawater, 5-20 and >5000 L, respectively, using iron-impregnated polypropylene filters. On these filters, it was possible to load between 25 and 30% Fe(OH)(3) by weight, over twice that loaded on previously utilized materials. Using our collection, purification, and liquid scintillation counting techniques, it was possible to obtain specific (32)P and (33)P activities with less than 10% error (2?) in rainwater and 20% error (2?) in seawater.

publication date

  • January 1, 1998