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vol.30 issue2Chemical characterization of fine particulate matter, source apportionment and long-range transport clusters in Thohoyandou, South Africa author indexsubject indexarticles search
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Clean Air Journal

On-line version ISSN 2410-972X
Print version ISSN 1017-1703


KHUMALO, Lerato; KORNELIUS, Gerrit; VAN ZYL, Pieter  and  HALL, Grant. An exploratory characterisation of the carbon and stable isotope composition of atmospheric particulate matter from opencast coal mining activities and adjacent communities. Clean Air J. [online]. 2020, vol.30, n.2, pp.1-8. ISSN 2410-972X.

Standard source apportionment techniques for atmospheric particulate (PM) collected near opencast coal mines using inorganic markers only are limited by the similarity in the mineral components in the overburden and at adjacent residential locations. This study explores the use of the stable carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) isotope ratios (13C/12C and 15N/14N) and thermal optical methods to differentiate sources of carbonaceous material in the atmospheric PM samples from the opencast coal mines and adjacent communities. Results show isotopic and OC/EC ratio differences between atmospheric PM samples from the opencast coal mines and communities, although distinguishing between the contributions of coal combustion, liquid fuel combustion and the domestic use of biomass requires further analysis.

Keywords : Atmospheric PM; coal; opencast; elemental carbon; organic carbon; IRMS; thermal optical.

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