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A critical review of inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry for geoanalysis, geochemistry and hydrology, Part 1. Analytical performance

January 1, 1992

Present-day inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) instrumentation is described briefly. Emphasis is placed on performance characteristics for geoanalysis, geochemistry, and hydrology. Applications where ICP-MS would be indispensable are indicated. Determination of geochemically diagnostic trace elements (such as the rare earth elements [REE], U and Th), of isotope ratios for fingerprinting, tracer and other geo-isotope applications, and benchmark isotope dilution determinations are considered to be typical priority applications for ICP-MS. It is concluded that ICP-MS furnishes unique geoanalytical and environmental data that are not readily provided by conventional spectroscopic (emission and absorption) techniques.