Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Suzanne C Bell

Committee Co-Chair

Patrick S Callery

Committee Member

Harry O Finklea

Committee Member

Amy J. Hirshman

Committee Member

Keith B. Morris.


Inductively coupled plasma spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a powerful analytical instrument that can be applied to multiple disciplines for trace elements detection. In the first stage of this research, ICP-MS was used to group archaeological pottery sherds based on the compositional information obtained. Provenience of the pottery was evaluated using multivariate analysis. Results were compared with those obtained on the same data set using neutron activation analysis (NAA). It was found that the groups generated in this study were comparable to the previous ones, and more details within groups were observed. In the second stage of this research, ICP-MS was applied to a current forensic problem, the characterization of gunshot residue (GSR). The technique was found to be useful in comparison between shooters and non-shooters using inorganic GSR, mainly antimony, barium, and lead. Not only is the concentration on shooter's hand higher, but also the dominant element is different from non-shooters. Lead isotope ratio can be determined by ICP-MS and assist in the differentiation of handguns and ammunitions. Two handguns and four ammunitions used in this study were differentiated by the biplot of mean of lead isotope ratio 208/206 against lead concentration. In the final stage of this research, ICP-MS was used to determine the concentration of inorganic elements in hair collected from mining and control areas. This work was done in concert with the Department of Community Medicine at the WVU Health Sciences Center. A unique aspect of this work was the extremely small sample size available for analysis. The results showed a depletion of chromium, manganese and iron, and an enrichment of aluminum, zinc, and arsenic in samples from mining area. Similar patterns of elemental concentration were also found in mining versus control areas and cancer versus non-cancer groups.