Project Global: Ground

This exploration of our current day metropolitan condition as a system of systems deals with the crust of the Earth as a primary carrying capacitor of human activities, from the extraction of resources deep within the ground, to agricultural operations that barely scratch the surface.

Part 1: Lexicon

Part 2: Atlas

Part 3: Architectural Projects

Part 1: Lexicon index

︎ Formation

    ︎ Kaapvaal Craton
    ︎ Johannesburg Dome
    ︎ Vredefort Dome
    ︎ Topsoil
    ︎ Müggelsee

︎ Measurement    ︎ Schwerbelastungskörper
    ︎ Mining Earthquakes
    ︎ Low-tech Soil Testing
    ︎ Soil Texture Triangle
    ︎ Geologic Time Scale 
    ︎ Stratigraphic Colum
    ︎ Geographic Information System
    ︎ Ecotone
    ︎ Cultural Landscape

︎ Prototype
    ︎ Unter den Linden
    ︎ Zoological Landscape
    ︎ Counterculture
    ︎ Cultural Agency
    ︎ Mine-pit Lakes
    ︎ Parliament of Things

︎ Land distribution
    ︎ 1913 Natives Land Act
    ︎ District Six
    ︎ Eavesdropping
    ︎ Reconciliation Policy
    ︎ Land Grabbing
    ︎ Land Acting
    ︎ The Red Ants
    ︎ #PutSouthAfricansFirst
    ︎ Suburban Enclaves
    ︎ Parallel State

︎ Extraction
    ︎ Cullinan Diamond Mine
    ︎ Platinum Group Metals
    ︎ Zamazamas
    ︎ Gold Rush Inertia
    ︎ Sinkhole
    ︎ Maize Doctor
    ︎ Coal Hands

︎ Infrastructure
    ︎ Gautrain
    ︎ Le-guba
    ︎ Lesotho Water Project
    ︎ Deutscher Wald
    ︎ Arrival City

︎ Production
    ︎ Safari Economy
    ︎ Agritourism
    ︎ Rainfall Line
    ︎ Upington Airport
    ︎ Tiergarten Transformation
    ︎ Pivot Irrigation
    ︎ Allotment Garden
    ︎ Bokoni Terracing
    ︎ Johannesburg Forestation
    ︎ Game Farming Cycle

︎ Waste
    ︎ Trümmerberg
    ︎ Fab-Soil
    ︎ Mining Waste Belt
    ︎ Sanitary Landfilling
    ︎ Soil Structure
    ︎ Biogas Technology

︎ Pollution
    ︎ Dry Stacked Tailings
    ︎ Water Pollution
    ︎ Soil Pollution
    ︎ Uranium Sandstorms
    ︎ Poaching

︎ Remediation
    ︎ European Green Belt
    ︎ Conservation Agriculture
    ︎ Airfield Urbanism
    ︎ Solar Park
    ︎ Gold Reef City
    ︎ Mine Pit Lake
    ︎ Loess Plateau
    ︎ Erosion Control

Low-tech soil testing

“What’s one portable way to measure how polluted our soil is?”

Portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, or pXRF, is one the most widely accepted instrumental methods for soil analysis that has become a key technique for field geochemical analyses especially in mining and environmental applications. It is also one of the oldest, with the first commercial
built in 1948. X-ray fluorescence is an analytical technique to determine the elemental composition of a sample by illuminating it with an X-ray beam. When exposed to X-rays, each element re-emits varying X-ray wavelengths, which are used to identify the elements present in a sample.1
        Due to its portability, pXRF provides nearly real-time data to support in-field decision making for exploration, mining, site remediation or waste management fieldwork. Moreover, this technique is a cost-saving alternative to laboratory soil-testing techniques such as ICP-OES, ICP-MS or AAS.2 In waste management and remediation applications, pXRF is used to identify the composition of unknown waste and verify waste-loads before disposal or treatment. When used in soil-testing, pXRF is used to determine soil composition but is often paired with laboratory data analysis to validate field-results to generate the most accurate overall results.
        In South Africa, pXRF was used extensively to analyze the former Edendale lead mine located in Mamelodi, at the outskirts of Pretoria, to detect heavy metals soil pollution. The analysis yielded similar results to the laboratory-performed analyses obtained by the ICP-OES, demonstrating that pXRF is a useful tool for soil analysis and soil pollution assessment, especially in countries where economic resources are limited to routinely perform expensive lab studies.3

Image source: Portable X-ray fluorescence instrument with tapered absorption collar. Accessed February 27th 2022.

1.  Piorek, Stanislaw. Field-portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry: Past, present, and future. Accessed February 27th 2022 
2.  Lemiere, Bruno. A review of pXRF (field portable X-ray fluorescence) Journal of Geochemical exploration. 188, 2018.
3.   Oyourou, J-N; McCrindle, R.; Combrinck, S.; Fourie, C.J.S. Investigation of zinc and lead contamination of soil at the abandoned Edendale mine, Mamelodi (Pretoria, South Africa) using a field-portable spectrometer. Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 119, 2019.