Uranium-series disequilibrium in Australian soils and its effect on aerial gamma-ray surveys

Bruce L. Dickson*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Measurements of U and 226Ra in 445 soil samples collected from areas throughout Australia show that these soils have a mean U content of 2.0 mg kg-1 and activity ratio ( U 226Ra) of 1.09. There is a wide spread in individual values but, overall, more soils are U-rich than 226Ra-rich. Some indications of regional disequilibrium were found, with 226Ra-rich soils being noted in the Southern Cross-Kambalda area (WA), in south-eastern Eyre Peninsula (SA) and in an area north of Cobar (NSW). Uranium-rich soils were found in two Carboniferous volcanic terrains in north-eastern Queensland. The spread in activity ratio values indicates that disequilibrium will contribute to the noise in U channel data obtained by aerial gamma-ray surveying. The combination of statistical noise from low count rates (reflecting the low U concentrations in soils) and U-226Ra disequilibrium combine to give variances of 40-60% in typical U channel data. Data appearance can be improved to some extent by appropriate filtering.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-186
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Geochemical Exploration
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1995


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