Wagner , J. and G. Casuccio, “Spectral imaging and Passive Sampling to Investigate Particle Sources in Urban Desert Regions”, Environmental Science: Processes Impacts, Vol. 16(7), pp. 1745-1753, 2014. DOI: 10.1039/C4EM00123K
Two types of electron microscopy analyses were employed along with geographic information system (GIS) mapping to investigate potential sources of PM2.5 and PM10 (airborne particulate matter smaller than 2.5 and 10 μm, respectively) in two urbanized desert areas known to exhibit PM excursions. Integrated spectral imaging maps were obtained from scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) analyses of 13 filters collected in Imperial Valley, California. Seven were from 24 h PM10 Federal Reference Method (FRM) samplers and six were from PM2.5 FRM samplers. This technique enabled extraction of information from particles collected on complex filter matrices, and indicated that all samples exhibited substantial proportions of crustal particles. Six Imperial PM2.5 and PM10 filters selected from unusually high-PM days exhibited more large particles (2.5–15 and 10–30 μm, respectively) than did filters from low-PM days, and were more consistent with soils analyzed from the region. High winds were present on three of the six high-PM days. One of the high-PM2.5 filters also exhibited substantial fine carbonaceous soot PM, suggesting significant contributions from a combustion source. Computer-controlled SEM/EDS (CCSEM/EDS) was conducted on PM collected with UNC Passive samplers from Phoenix, Arizona. The passive samplers showed good agreement with co-located FRM PM10 and PM2.5 measurements (μg m−3), and also enabled detailed individual particle analysis. The CCSEM/EDS data revealed mostly crustal particles in both the Phoenix fine and coarse PM10 fractions. GIS maps of multiple dust-related parameters confirm that both Imperial Valley and Phoenix possess favorable conditions for airborne crustal PM from natural and anthropogenic sources.