Radiometric characterisation of vineyard soils, Western Cape, South Africa
Mlwilo, Nolasco Anton
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This study is aimed at investigating the feasibility of using the radiometric technique as an alternative to traditional methods for determining soil physico-chemical parameters which are important for terroir characterization. In-situ and ex-situ radiometric analyses of soil from three vineyard blocks of Simonsig Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch district (Western Cape, South Africa) were studied. A mobile MEDUSA gamma-ray detection system comprising a CsI(Na) crystal (length 15 cm, diameter 7 cm) and associated electronics mounted on a portable trolley were used for partial terroir characterisation. Thereafter activity concentrations of 40K, 232Th series and 238U series in soil (top ~30 cm) from the measured MEDUSA spectra (0 - 3 MeV) were extracted by means of the full-spectrum analysis (FSA) method. A lead-shielded HPGe detector was used for analyzing collected soil samples while soil physico-chemical parameters were analysed using standard methods at research and commercial laboratories.