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Title: Modeling background radiation in Southern Nevada

Abstract

Aerial gamma ray surveys are an important tool for national security, scientific, and industrial interests in determining locations of both anthropogenic and natural sources of radioactivity. There is a relationship between radioactivity and geology and in the past this relationship has been used to predict geology from an aerial survey. The purpose of this project is to develop a method to predict the radiologic exposure rate of the geologic materials by creating a high resolution background model. The intention is for this method to be used in an emergency response scenario where the background radiation envi-ronment is unknown. Two study areas in Southern Nevada have been modeled using geologic data, images from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), geochemical data, and pre-existing low resolution aerial surveys from the National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) Survey. Using these data, geospatial areas that are homogenous in terms of K, U, and Th, referred to as background radiation units, are defined and the gamma ray exposure rate is predicted. The prediction is compared to data collected via detailed aerial survey by the Department of Energy's Remote Sensing Lab - Nellis, allowing for the refinement of the technique. By using geologic unitsmore » to define radiation background units of exposed bedrock and ASTER visualizations to subdivide and define radiation background units within alluvium, successful models have been produced for Government Wash, north of Lake Mead, and for the western shore of Lake Mohave, east of Searchlight, NV.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [2];  [4];  [2]
  1. Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States); National Security Technologies, LLC. (NSTec), Las Vegas, NV (United States)
  2. Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
  3. National Security Technologies, LLC. (NSTec), Las Vegas, NV (United States)
  4. Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States); Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1342598
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1425911
Grant/Contract Number:
NA0001982
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 171; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0265-931X
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Airborne survey, Predictive model, Gamma-ray, Radioactivity, Geology

Citation Formats

Haber, Daniel A., Burnley, Pamela C., Adcock, Christopher T., Malchow, Russell L., Marsac, Kara E., and Hausrath, Elisabeth M. Modeling background radiation in Southern Nevada. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.01.020.
Haber, Daniel A., Burnley, Pamela C., Adcock, Christopher T., Malchow, Russell L., Marsac, Kara E., & Hausrath, Elisabeth M. Modeling background radiation in Southern Nevada. United States. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.01.020.
Haber, Daniel A., Burnley, Pamela C., Adcock, Christopher T., Malchow, Russell L., Marsac, Kara E., and Hausrath, Elisabeth M. Mon . "Modeling background radiation in Southern Nevada". United States. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.01.020.
@article{osti_1342598,
title = {Modeling background radiation in Southern Nevada},
author = {Haber, Daniel A. and Burnley, Pamela C. and Adcock, Christopher T. and Malchow, Russell L. and Marsac, Kara E. and Hausrath, Elisabeth M.},
abstractNote = {Aerial gamma ray surveys are an important tool for national security, scientific, and industrial interests in determining locations of both anthropogenic and natural sources of radioactivity. There is a relationship between radioactivity and geology and in the past this relationship has been used to predict geology from an aerial survey. The purpose of this project is to develop a method to predict the radiologic exposure rate of the geologic materials by creating a high resolution background model. The intention is for this method to be used in an emergency response scenario where the background radiation envi-ronment is unknown. Two study areas in Southern Nevada have been modeled using geologic data, images from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), geochemical data, and pre-existing low resolution aerial surveys from the National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) Survey. Using these data, geospatial areas that are homogenous in terms of K, U, and Th, referred to as background radiation units, are defined and the gamma ray exposure rate is predicted. The prediction is compared to data collected via detailed aerial survey by the Department of Energy's Remote Sensing Lab - Nellis, allowing for the refinement of the technique. By using geologic units to define radiation background units of exposed bedrock and ASTER visualizations to subdivide and define radiation background units within alluvium, successful models have been produced for Government Wash, north of Lake Mead, and for the western shore of Lake Mohave, east of Searchlight, NV.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.01.020},
journal = {Journal of Environmental Radioactivity},
number = C,
volume = 171,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Mon Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.01.020

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  • Aerial gamma ray surveys are an important tool for national security, scientific, and industrial interests in determining locations of both anthropogenic and natural sources of radioactivity. There is a relationship between radioactivity and geology and in the past this relationship has been used to predict geology from an aerial survey. The purpose of this project is to develop a method to predict the radiologic exposure rate of the geologic materials by creating a high resolution background model. The intention is for this method to be used in an emergency response scenario where the background radiation envi-ronment is unknown. Two studymore » areas in Southern Nevada have been modeled using geologic data, images from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), geochemical data, and pre-existing low resolution aerial surveys from the National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) Survey. Using these data, geospatial areas that are homogenous in terms of K, U, and Th, referred to as background radiation units, are defined and the gamma ray exposure rate is predicted. The prediction is compared to data collected via detailed aerial survey by the Department of Energy's Remote Sensing Lab - Nellis, allowing for the refinement of the technique. By using geologic units to define radiation background units of exposed bedrock and ASTER visualizations to subdivide and define radiation background units within alluvium, successful models have been produced for Government Wash, north of Lake Mead, and for the western shore of Lake Mohave, east of Searchlight, NV.« less
  • Traveltime data from the 1993 Southern Sierra Nevada Continental Dynamics seismic refraction experiment reveal low velocities in the southern Sierra Nevada and Basin and Range province of California (6.0 to 6.6 km/s), as well as low upper mantle velocities (7.6 to 7.8 km/s). The crust thickens from southeast to northwest along the axis of the Sierra Nevada from 27 km in the Mojave Desert to 43 km near Fresno, California. A crustal welt is present beneath the Sierra Nevada, but the deepest Moho is found under the western slopes, not beneath the highest topography. A density model directly derived frommore » the crustal velocity model but with constant mantle density satisfies the pronounced negative Bouguer anomaly associated with the Sierra Nevada, but shows large discrepancies of >50 mgal in the Great Valley and in the Basin and Range province. Matching the observed gravity with anomalies in the crust alone is not possible with geologically reasonable densities; we require a contribution from the upper mantle, either by lateral density variations or by a thinning of the lithosphere under the Sierra Nevada and the Basin and Range province. Such a model is consistent with the interpretation that the uplift of the present Sierra Nevada is caused and dynamically supported by asthenospheric upwelling or lithospheric thinning under the Basin and Range province and eastern Sierra Nevada. 20 refs., 4 figs.« less
  • A recent measurement of the anisotropy in the Cosmic Background Radiation from the southern hemisphere (Lima, Peru) is essentially in agreement with previous measurements from the northern hemisphere. The net anisotropy can be described as a first order spherical harmonic (Doppler) anisotropy of amplitude 3.1 {+-} 0.4 m{sup o}K with a quadrupole anisotropy of less than 1 m{sup o}K. In addition, measurements of the linear polarization yield an upper limit of 1 m{sup o}K, or one part in 3000, at 95% C.L. for the amplitudes of any spherical harmonic through third order.
  • A recent airborne measurement of the large--angular-scale anisotropy in the cosmic background radiation from the southern hemisphere (Lima, Peru) is in essential agreement with previous measurements from the northern hemisphere. The net anisotropy from the combined data can be described by a first-order spherical harmonic (Doppler) anisotropy of amplitude 3.1 +- 0.4 mK with a quadrupole component of less than 1 mK. Additional ground-based measurements of the linear polarization yield an upper limit of 1 mK, or one part in 3000, at 95% confidence level for the amplitudes of any spherical harmonic through third order.
  • External radiation measurements and soil sampling were performed at 28 sites in southern Nevada as part of an extensive radiological survey to determine residual levels of fission products and transuranic nuclides in Utah and Nevada as a result of nuclear weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) during 1951 to 1958. The natural background exposure rate was found to vary by about a factor of two. The /sup 137/Cs inventories tended to be lower than expected indicating the effects of wind erosion. Cobalt-60 and /sup 241/Am were detected at several sites which were reported to be hotspots in post-shotmore » radiological surveys.« less