Using an energy dispersive X-Ray fluorescence analysis, simultaneous evaluation of K, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Ge, Ni, Cu, Zn, Br, Rb, Sr and Pb in 74 marine sediment samples from the Costa Rica intertidal zones was conducted. Samples were collected between June 1999 and December 2001, from Caribbean and Pacific beaches of Costa Rica. Calcium and iron showed the highest abundances and are indicators of the natural origin of the sediments. Calcium is associated with biogenic processes such as coral reefs near the sampling sites and iron indicates a terrigenous origin. In general, the beaches of the Caribbean and North Pacific regions showed the greatest concentration of calcium. This is indicative of the abundant reef structures near these beaches. The beaches of the Central and South Pacific show the greatest iron concentrations, indicating an important lithosphere contribution and/or little contribution of calcium carbonate due to the poor development of coralline structures near the sampling sites. Finally, the analyses did not show evidence of elements associated with anthropogenic pollution. Only a northern section of Puerto Viejo beach showed high concentrations of lead, zinc and titanium, perhaps associated with hydrothermal sources.
Keywords: X-ray Fluorescence, trace elements, marine sediment, sediment contamination, Costa Rica