[ RadSafe ] [EXTERNAL] Re: Fwd: Alleged rise in atmospheric ionising radiation

Wasiolek, Maryla mwasiol at sandia.gov
Thu Jun 4 13:28:35 CDT 2015

An additional consideration for the aeolian transport of the soil particles from the soils that have been fertilized using phosphate fertilizers is the enhancement factor. It the ratio of the activity concentration per unit mass in the fraction of soil particles that are subject to soil deflation (very fine particles) relative to the activity concentration in bulk surface soil [for uranium or radium or anything else that has been sorbed onto the soil particles]. Because the fine particles have a larger surface area per unit mass available for sorption than the coarser particles, the distribution of radioactivity on soil particles will be particle-size dependent. It is not a very strong effect, but nevertheless it may contribute to the preferential transport of sorbed radionuclides during soil deflation.

Maryla Wasiolek

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Dan McCarn
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2015 11:59 AM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [ RadSafe ] Fwd: Alleged rise in atmospheric ionising radiation

Hi Chris:

Not brilliant - all geologists are on the high-end of the spectrum that way! [?]

Please note that this is my unpublished hypothesis regarding the Piceance Basin. The oil shale accumulated in a saline lake environment from very large quantities of algae. Algae need, among other things, a bit of iron or molybdenum to form a nitrogenase metalo-enzymes which contain iron, molybdenum, or vanadium. for nitrogen fixation from the atmosphere. The best way to obtain that is from wind-blown soils that have already accumulated the material.

The second line of argument relates to mass-balance. The annual varves of oil shale deposition amount to a fraction of a millimeter, about the amount that could be introduced uniformly by dust in the form of platy clay-like minerals formed in soils. These minerals can adsorb / desorb nutrients along with other things like radium. I would expect the uranium to migrate deeper in the soil column and not be subject to soil deflation (removal by wind as dust). Thus there should be significant dis-equilibrium between uranium and radium.

Dan ii

Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Blvd
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-672-2014 (Home – New Mexico)
+1-505-670-8123 (Mobile - New Mexico)
HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com

On Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 10:02 AM, Chris Alston <achris1999 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dan
> That is well-nigh brilliant!  And it should not be forbiddingly 
> challenging to do the sampling to answer the question.  The only fly 
> in the ointment might be that one would want to do alpha spec of the 
> samples, I should think.  Does anyone have a Masters candidate, who's 
> looking for a topic for her thesis?
> Cheers
> cja
> On Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 10:53 AM, Dan McCarn <hotgreenchile at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Dear Mike & David:
> > I'd like to advance one plausible hypothesis regarding elevated 
> > levels of alpha radiation over California:
> > Some years ago, I had the pleasure of working on the geology /
> geochemistry
> > of the Piceance Basin in NW Colorado. As I became more knowledgeable
> about
> > the basin, it became apparent that the depositional systems of the 
> > oil shale (keragenous dolomitic marlstone) were strongly influenced 
> > by dusts being blown off the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and the 
> > basins of California. In fact, much of the fertility of the Colorado 
> > Plateau has
> been
> > attributed to dusts being entrained in the soil column originating 
> > from California. In the Piceance Basin, the "richness" or Leanness" 
> > of the oil shale zones are postulated to be caused by the changing 
> > volume of dust being blown into the basin and is strongly influences 
> > by climate - drier
> &
> > wetter conditions - spanning the lifetime of the active basin. The 
> > drier conditions result in larger amounts of deposited dusts and 
> > thicker annual accumulations of oil shale; the wetter conditions 
> > provide less suspended dust and leaner oil shale accumulations.
> > Fertile soils accumulate plant nutrients such as phosphates and 
> > other micronutrients. In order to grow commercially, California 
> > soils are also heavily artificially augmented with these nutrients. 
> > Phosphate
> fertilizers
> > contain significant amounts of radium, uranium and other progeny in 
> > the uranium series. During dry periods, these enriched soils deflate 
> > in
> winds &
> > dry conditions and are aerially suspended as fine particulates. I 
> > think this is why there is such a change in alpha activity since the 
> > windblown dusts are deriving their radiation from phosphate-enriched soils.
> > This is not unique to the California basins. The Amazon appears to 
> > be sustained by phosphate-bearing dusts blown from Africa.
> > http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100809/full/news.2010.396.html
> >
> >
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