X-ray Fluorescence

X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy
and Multi-Sensor Core Logging

Geotek offers a range of specialised core scanning/logging equipment that use XRF spectrometers to acquire elemental abundance from the surface of sediment and rock cores. The ability to continuously scan core samples using both petrophysical and spectroscopic techniques is a product unique to Geotek. XRF spectrometers can now be integrated into new or existing MSCL systems.

An MSCL is the perfect platform to acquire XRF data as it offers a stable and repeatable measurement geometry with each measurement depth co-registered with other spectroscopy and petrophysical sensors. Geotek offers two XRF spectrometers: the high resolution and ultra-sensitive Geotek XRF, and the popular hand-held Olympus Vanta. These are compatible with a range of different MSCL systems including: the standard MSCL-S, the small footprint MSCL-XZ, and the multiple core/core box workstation MSCL-XYZ.

Geotek's range of XRF core loggers integrating either the Olympus Vanta handheld, or the ultra-sensitive Geotek XRF spectrometer

Applications of XRF Data

Nearly any geological, geochemical, or petrophysical application benefits from the ability to maximise data recovery from core material. Geotek’s MSCL systems achieve this by uniquely combining continuous downcore XRF with other spectroscopy and petrophysical measurements.

Example MSCL dataset with XRF, colour spectrophotometry, magnetic susceptibility, and high resolution linescan image
Example MSCL dataset with XRF, colour spectrophotometry, magnetic susceptibility, and high resolution linescan image

Oil & Gas/Unconventional

  • Corroboration of downhole log elemental concentration
  • Core to log integration and correlation
  • Interpretation of mineralogy and matrix properties
  • Linking core gamma ray with elemental content and density


  • Identification of trace metals and ore identification
  • Elemental abundances automatically stored and exported as ascii file
  • Depth co-registration of elemental data with physical and magnetic properties for resource assessment


  • Sediment provenance assessment
  • Bed/unit correlation
  • Characterisation of cement
  • Derivation or proxy for mineral distribution
  • Mass movement identification


  • Elemental abundances used as a proxy for environmental change
  • Identification of volcanic ash, or ice-rafted debris
  • Characterisation of palaeosols and sediment/rock core samples
  • 100 µm downcore logging resolution for high resolution climate change studies


  • Identification of heavy metals
  • Can be integrated with ultraviolet linescan imaging for hydrocarbon identification
  • Field-based measurements

High Performance Geotek XRF Spectrometer

The ultra-sensitive Geotek X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer acquires precise elemental abundances from the surface of sediment and rock cores, and offers superior sensitivity for light elements.

Ultra-sensitive Geotek XRF Spectrometer with point magnetic susceptibility
Ultra-sensitive Geotek XRF Spectrometer with point magnetic susceptibility

  • High performance large area silicon drift detector (SDD) with a helium-flushed measurement cell dramatically improves sensitivity, especially for the light elements such as Mg, Al, and Si
  • Widest range of elements from Mg to U at ppm levels
  • Motorised X-ray slits enable a downcore spatial resolution of 100 µm or less
  • Sophisticated filter slide to lower detection limits across a wide range of elements, and allows different cross-core areas to be illuminated – perfect for high-resolution studies of dipping laminae
  • Low power sealed X-ray source for long life (>10,000 hours) with no maintenance
  • A unique close-coupled geometry for high efficiency at lower X-ray tube power
  • Simple to use custom-designed software automatically communicates with the logger to acquire, interpret, and display the fluorescence spectra with element abundance during acquisition
  • Precise measurements are assured through a combination of peak fit and deconvolution algorithms with a proprietary quantitative analysis suite

Geotek XRF Sensor Specifications

    15W/50kV, Rh anode allowing sulphur detection, air-cooled
    RaySpec SiriusSD Silicon Drift Detector, 30mm x 0.45μm, FWHM: down to 129eV at Mn Kα, (8μm) Bewindow

    Na to U
    0.1 to 10 mm
    5, 10, or 15 mm

Further specifications including limits of detection can be found in our XRF brochure.

Olympus Vanta on MSCL-S

Evident Vanta XRF Spectrometer

Geotek has integrated one of the most popular hand-held XRF spectrometers on the market into our MSCL systems:  The Evident Vanta. Through limited operator involvement, custom-designed software seamlessly communicates with the Vanta to provide depth co-registered XRF data during logging acquisition. When mounted on the MSCL, the XRF sensor is counterbalanced with an adjustable weight so the instrument only lightly touches the surface when working with soft, plastic-wrapped split core.

Geotek utilises Evident’s interpretation software to present the acquired spectra and automatically display the results during logging alongside other chemical or physical property datasets. These data can then be easily exported as an ascii file for further analyses. Furthermore, the sensor can be detached, and used as a standard hand-held if required.

Sensor specifications for Evident Vanta Handheld

Evident Vanta handheld

Other compatible sensors

XRF data can be collected simultaneously with other split-core data, such as colour spectrophotometry and magnetic susceptibility. Split-core data can be easily co-registered with data collected on whole core (gamma density, P-wave velocity, magnetic susceptibility, electrical resistivity, natural gamma spectrometry). Geoscan V linescan images or MSCL-XCT X-ray images can also be registered to XRF data with confidence.

MSCL-S with attenuated gamma density, P-wave velocity, Olympus Delta XRF, magnetic susceptibility, non-contact electrical resistivity, spectral and total natural gamma
MSCL-S with attenuated gamma density, P-wave velocity, Olympus Delta XRF, magnetic susceptibility, non-contact electrical resistivity, spectral and total natural gamma

For further information please contact us.