Abstract An integrated system, based on Inductively Coupled Plasma-Sector Field Mass Spectrometry (ICP-SFMS) and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrophotometry (ICP-AES) techniques, was optimised for the geochemical characterisation of soils and marine sediments. Sample mineralization was carried out with HF, HNO3 and HClO4. Operative blanks were at least two orders of magnitude lower than the lowest concentration measured in real samples. For ICP-SFMS, the detection power of the method in high resolution mode was sufficient for an accurate quantification of metals, yet avoiding REEs' (Rare Earth Elements) isobaric interferences. Once tested the accuracy on six certified materials, the methods were applied to the analysis of 39 major and trace metals on the top 90 m of sediments from the ANDRILL AND-1B core, covering the last million years. Stratigraphies of REEs and of normalised markers from this core clearly highlight a discontinuity at about 660,000 years before present. This pattern is well shown by the results of a PMF (Positive Matrix Factorization) statistical analysis, revealing two different sources for the sedimentary material, whose relative contribution changed around that time. Such a result is consistent with previous studies and confirms the net change in the provenance of glacial fluxes in the McMurdo region (Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica) in the last million years.