Employing Electron Microscopy Integrated with X-ray Spectroscopy for Kuntawa Landslide Assessment; a Geomorphological Approach

Dikedi PN


This work centres on the assessment of an enigmatic 2003 Kuntawa landslide event which resulted to the loss of seven lives and a truck. A Phenom ProX Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) (at 3500x) is employed: the device is integrated with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), Secondary Electron Detectors (SED), Back Scatter Electron Detectors (BSED) and Particlemetric software for Elemental identification, chemical topography, morphology, imagecontrast and particle size determination. Elemental composition at the landslide site was generated from the EDS: oxygen (O), Silicon (Si), Bromine (Br), iron (Fe), Carbon (C) and Aluminium (Al). O and C had the highest and lowest concentration of elemental compositions of 68.5% at 3.75 m depth and 1% at 3.82m depth for samples 1 and 2, respectively. This high concentration may be accounted for owing to the presence of subsurface microbial-algae-activity. There is a low concentration 14.1% to 19.8% of silicon within the region investigated. There is a decrease and increase in iron concentration by 2.3% and 1.9% respectively.These results could be indicative of earth surface activity such as flood, a previous landslide and core and mantle material intrusion into Kuntawa’s crustal formation. The result reveals microfracturesthey serve as tips of larger fractures down under; an unreported earthquake event may have occurred some years back at Kuntawa.Since bromine occurs in ocean, the presence of bromine could infer that Kuntawa region may have existed as an oceanic crust or floor. These results go to show that flood plains that are been inhabited must be vacated since these plains may slide just at any time. 

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