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  • Author or Editor: D. Palacios x
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Abstract  

Clam meats were obtained directly from the fishermen on the beaches in front of where the clams were collected at eight sites; seven along the northern coast of Venezuela and one on the northern coast of the island of Margarita (Venezuela). Marine sediments were also collected in the same corresponding areas as the clams. 137Cs was determined both in clam meats and the marine sediments by high resolution gamma-ray spectrometry employing a hyperpure germanium detector. About 5 kg portions of clam meats were washed and dried in the laboratory, before 500 cm3 volumes were transferred and weighed in the measuring containers. Similarly, 500 cm3 volumes of marine sediments that were dried and ground to pass a 85 μm sieve were transferred to the measuring containers. The samples were counted for 150,000 seconds of real time. The 137Cs activity of the clam meats ranged from <0.011 Bq·kg−1 (our detection limit) to 0.36 Bq·kg−1 (dried weigh). These values are all within the range of values considered for environmental fallout from the nuclear weapons tests. Finally, all the values for the corresponding marine sediments were below our detection limit of 0.1 Bq·kg−1 of 137Cs (dried weigh).

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Abstract  

The concentrations of40K,226Ra,232Th and137Cs were determined in the upper layers of soils in the central coastal region of Venezuela. The activities of137Cs are higher in the areas where the forest is well developed, oriented towards the wind and at higher elevations. The origin of the137Cs deposition is from water input from the clouds directly in the cloudforest and rainfall from the northeast trade winds. Even though the values of137Cs are much higher in these areas, there is little or no significant increase in the health risk. The natural radioactivity is correlated with the geology in the region except in the area of Urama. The values for the natural radiation background are as follows: for potassium between 1–3%, for radium between 1–3 ppm and for thorium the range was 6–39 ppm. The corresponding amounts of absorbed dose rates in air, the exposure rates and the annual effective dose equivalents are in the following ranges respectively: 11–39 pGy/s, 4–16 uR/h and 0.25–0.86 mSv/y. The annual effective dose equivalents include the contribution of the global average (2.57 mSv/y) of the rest of the natural sources of radiation. Finally, the largest natural radioactivity background, was found near Chichiriviche as a result of the massive granite deposits in this area, but again there is no significant health risk.

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Abstract  

Several ornaments named tezcacuitlapilli (coccyx-mirrors) are described and chemical analyses of raw materials (slate and pigments) were carried out by neutron activation, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and radiography. Elemental and statistical analyses revealed that three different kinds of slate were used in their manufacture. The white pigment contains gypsum while ochre, yellow and red pigments contain iron oxide. These ornaments were identified as coming from the Cave of the Sun Pyramid of Teotihuacan. An attempt was undertaken to reconstruct the contexts of their manufacture and symbolic interpretation.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: R. López-Valenzuela, J. López-Palacios, M. Jiménez-Reyes, G. Cataño, and D. Tenorio

Abstract  

Thirteen Teotihuacan-style ornaments of an incense burner were studied. Ceramic pastes, pigments and mica were analyzed by neutron activation, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. Elemental (Sc, Cr, Fe, Co, Rb, Cs, La, Ce, Nd, Sm, Eu, Tb, Yb, Lu, Hf, Th and U) and statistical analyses of ceramic-body data showed that these pieces were made from the same raw material, which is chemically different from the fine orange ceramic of Teotihuacan. Montmorillonite and the classical components of sand were the minerals identified in the ceramic pastes. The white pigment contained calcium, titanium and aluminium, the yellow pigment was ocher, and the red pigment was a mixture of red ocher and cinnabar, the binder of the pigments being clay. Exoskeletons of diatoms and locust ootecs were found in the pigments. Mica was identified as biotite, identical with that coming from Monte Alban Oaxaca. We wish to undertake a historical reconstrution of these ornaments based on archaeometric and literature data.

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Abstract  

This work presents the results of 137Cs, 40K, 232Th and 238U concentration (Bq kg−1) values in coastal marine sediments collected from 38 sites along the coastline of the island of Margarita, Venezuela. The purpose was to determine baseline values for these radionuclides in surface marine sediments and to detect if there were any anomalously high concentration values. Only three of the 38 sediments analyzed had measurable values above the detection limit of 0.9 Bq kg−1 for 137Cs and the highest only being 1.4 Bq kg−1. While, the concentration (Bq kg−1) ranges for the primordial radionuclides, 40K, 232Th and 238U were as follows: 12.2–211.7, <1.5–9.8 and <4.4–20.7, respectively. These concentration ranges for the primordial radionuclides can be considered as baseline values for surface marine sediments for areas that are considered not polluted by man or contaminated by nature. Finally, the concentration range of 137Cs can also be employed as baseline values, which only seem to have been the result of the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in the past.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: F. Espinoza-Quiñones, S. Palácio, A. Módenes, N. Szymanski, C. Zacarkim, D. Zenatti, M. Fornari, M. Rizzutto, M. Tabacniks, N. Added, and Alexander Kroumov

Abstract  

The region of Toledo River, Paraná, Brazil is characterized by intense anthropogenic activities. Hence, metal concentrations and physical–chemical parameters of Toledo River water were determined in order to complete an environmental evaluation catalog. Samples were collected monthly during one year period at seven different sites from the source down the river mouth, physical–chemical variables were analyzed, and major metallic ions were measured. Metal analysis was performed by using the synchrotron radiation total reflection X-ray fluorescence technique. A statistical analysis was applied to evaluate the reliability of experimental data. The analysis of obtained results have shown that a strong correlation between physical–chemical parameters existed among sites 1 and 7, suggesting that organic pollutants were mainly responsible for decreasing the Toledo River water quality.

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Community Ecology
Authors: G. Bacaro, S. Maccherini, A. Chiarucci, A. Jentsch, D. Rocchini, D. Torri, M. Gioria, E. Tordoni, S. Martellos, A. Altobelli, R. Otto, C. G. Escudero, S. Fernández-Lugo, J. M. Fernández-Palacios, and J. R. Arévalo

Invasion by alien plant species may be rapid and aggressive, causing erosion of local biodiversity. This is particularly true for islands, where natural and anthropogenic corridors promote the rapid spread of invasive plants. Although evidence shows that corridors may facilitate plant invasions, the question of how their importance in the spread of alien species varies along environmental gradients deserves more attention. Here, we addressed this issue by examining diversity patterns (species richness of endemic, native and alien species) along and across roads, along an elevation gradient from sea-level up to 2050 m a.s.l. in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), at multiple spatial scales. Species richness was assessed using a multi-scale sampling design consisting of 59 T-transects of 150 m × 2 m, along three major roads each placed over the whole elevation gradient. Each transect was composed of three sections of five plots each: Section 1 was located on the road edges, Section 2 at intermediate distance, and Section 3 far from the road edge, the latter representing the “native community” less affected by road-specific disturbance. The effect of elevation and distance from roadsides was evaluated for the three groups of species (endemic, native and alien species), using parametric and non-parametric regression analyses as well as additive diversity partitioning. Differences among roads explained the majority of the variation in alien species richness and composition. Patterns in alien species richness were also affected by elevation, with a decline in richness with increasing elevation and no alien species recorded at high elevations. Elevation was the most important factor determining patterns in endemic and native species. These findings confirm that climate filtering reflected in varying patterns along elevational gradients is an important determinant of the richness of alien species (which are not adapted to high elevations), while anthropogenic pressures may explain the richness of alien species at low elevation.

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