The relative merits and sampling requirements of instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and scanning electron microscopy
(SEM) with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) analysis as applied to the continental component of marine aerosols
are discussed. When correlated with air mass information, the quantitative INAA data on the concentrations of 15 major and
minor elements in the continental dust fraction provides information on the geochemical type and location of the land source.
Although the SEM/EDS technique provides only qualitative concentrations for 6 additional elements in the aerosol, the important
feature of single particle analysis enables more nearly synoptic interpretation of aerosol composition and concentration.
A combined INAA and SEM/EDS study of the aerosol samples is therefore preferred.