Background Radiation experiment for Radon turns up item of interest!

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Hideki Matsumoto, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    Ok, I have been doing some Radon measuring around my house using a brand new Gamma Scout Geiger counter and have found nothing beyond 4 cpm (alpha) this = 0.06 mREM/hr or 0.6 nSv/hr. This is quite low. However on a trip to Campbell River (~ 200miles North of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island) the readings for my basement suite hotel room were over 10x stronger than in Victoria! Ouch !! 0.6mREM 6.0 nSv/hr Going over to Quadra Island of the coast of Campbell river was way more enlightning!! I visited an old Uranium mine site from the mid 1930's and took readings. Unreal the amount of radiation that can come from a natural mineral outcropping !! The readings in air were 2.3 mREM. The readings at 3cm away from the mineral outcopping ( this case it was a mineral known as Carnotite or Potassium Uranium Vanadate) was over 35.7mREM 357mSv/hr on Alpha beta and Gamma combo measurement!!! that's a wee bit dangerous!

    Anyone done Radon testing before ?
     
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  3. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    woops mSv/hr should be uSv/hr

    35.7mREM is the same as 35.7mR/hr
     
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  5. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    never done any testing but with a radiation level that high youd think that they would close off the mine area
     
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  7. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    :bugeye: Well, actually 35.7mRem is quite low for a uranium mine site, and not only that but this Uranium mine was closed in about the late 1940's on Quadra Island. If you want a dangerous place to visit with lots of radiation **try** to go to midnight mine in Spokane Washington. There you will find doses that well exceed 1 Rem or 1000mRem/hr in the open air approx 300ft from the open pit in the form of Beta/Gamma Radiation! Rock faces in the open mine pit are laden with Autunite (Calcium uranium Phosphate) and Uraninite (Uranium Oxide) and an extreamly dangerous 2ndary sulphide mineral called Radiobarite (Barium Radium Sulphide), this mineral is also responible for high radiation in coal mines and oil deposites. Readings are high enought to kill you in some mere minutes "1.2 KRem/hr" of exposure without a radiological protective suite!
    BTW YOU CANNOT ENTER THE MINESITE and there are BIG warnings about EXTREAME radiation hazards. It is also federally controlled and remotely monitored. If I only I had a radiation suite, I would be getting radiobarite and Autunite samples like mad!! People actually buy autunite and other radioactive minerals beacuse they are highly prized $$$ (usually very beautiful bright orange - flourecent green yelllow) on the markets I have serveral large specimines from this mine before it closed!!

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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2004
  8. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    I will conduct more tests on area around my home and on the Island... Much to explore with a digital GM detector !!

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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2004
  9. Tristan Leave your World Behind Valued Senior Member

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    Hideki Matsumoto, welcome to sciforums

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    Make yourself at home

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    Btw, you can edit your posts instead of posting again, just thought id let you know if you didn't.

    Enjoy,
    T
     
  10. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    Where do you live Hideki? I live in Nanaimo, and my roommate here is from Campbell River. I just saw that and skimmed the rest for now (I'm really tired and my comprehension is very poor, plus, I'm a biologist by trade, and my physics is pretty hazy), but I am interested in reading about this. Thanks for posting, and welcome to sciforums.com.
     
  11. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    Victoria.. Actually SW of Victoria (Metchosin). I am very curious about uranium deposits here on the island and surrounding islands. Another place for me to check out is the
    North end of Cowichan lake north of the McKay creek intersecting the watershed area. I am not sure what is there but it is big enought to register on (minfile) over 30% U2
    By the way Nanaimo is probably a good area for uranium hunting due to the fossilferous nature of the area (Coal deposits). ?
     
  12. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, Nanaimo started as a coal town, and you can still find deposits here and there. What makes you think that the North end of Lake Cowichan would be interesting to check?
     
  13. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    North area of Cowichan area (past Mckay Creek in the watershed area) appears on (Minfile database) as a Uranium hotspot (over 30% U2). Minfile is run by the ministry of mines. As for Nanaimo I think it would be worth checking out because Uranium is often found near/associated with hydrocarbon deposites (coal) and fossilferrous areas. Many times you can find fossilized wood with a mineral by the name of Carnotite (Potassium Uranium Vanadate) formed on it. Coal also can trap radon gas when it is released by uranium and thorium bearing minerals.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2004
  14. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting. Are there any other areas of the island that hold your interest? How can you access the Minfile Database?
     
  15. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    Minfile can be accessed by anyone! Use the ministry of mines website to get to the site. It is worth looking at if you want to make a few $$$ panning gold, finding ore or finding the HOT stuff!

    The hot springs at Tofino are very interesting, various high temperature forming minerals are located there. ie) Murcury, Arsenic, various Sulphates and high amounts of Radon gas dissolved in the hydrothermal water and well as traces of Radium.
     
  16. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    Actually (thinking about geigering)

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    I want to go to the Okanagan "Penticton" has really hot uranium deposites!
     
  17. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    Vancouver Island is so interesting geologically, so I'm not surprised if there would be hundreds of spots of interest. Neat.
     
  18. mmackay Registered Member

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    Re: Where can I find a geiger or Scintillometer?

    Hello,

    I'm interested in purchasing a geiger counter or scintillometer in order to take measurements in exploration much the same as everyone in this thread. What kind of instrument do I need to take measurements around Uranium deposits (i.e. Alpha particles???)? And where would you suggest I find an instrument like this?

    Thanks so much for your help.

    M.
     
  19. Hideki Matsumoto ñ{ìñÇÃóùâ?ÇÕêSÇÃíÜÇ©ÇÁóàÇ ÈÅB Registered Senior Member

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    Years and update about everything

    Well quite a few years ago, I did my exaustive search on Quadra Island around the area that supposedly contained the carnotite.
    The search proved a bit of a failure because the Vanadium copper deposites are almost completely mined out. I still managed to obtain some high readings near the area leading up to the original copper mine. There is some uranium or decay products in the area but it is probably coming from the surrounding soil as traces. Highest readings went to 300CPM. High but not spectactular. Previous posts were inaccurate due to a problem with the new counter's calibration software. :shrug:

    Now by major contrast in 2007-2008 I lived in the central interior of BC where U2 is quite common and ended up one summer going to a know uranium hotspot location near the town of clearwater BC. (FOGHORN DEPOSIT) Hence to say this is a VERY HOT location and containes some serious Gummite, Uraninite and a few other highly radioactive materials. The area is full of Radon gas daughters.
    This is an unsecured drill site for what was to be a commercial uranium mine by the BC government in early 2000. It was dropped because of serious concerns about it's safety. The road leading up tot the site is partially washed out and very steep.
     
  20. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    You might try visiting Radium Hot Springs in BC. They no longer tout the 'therapeutic benefits' from Radium of their mineral water hot baths, but rather the other minerals that are present, and it would be interesting to find the Radon concentration in the air in the rooms where the baths are located.

    Incidentally, it is not proper to measure mR/hr from Radon, as that is entirely an absorbed dose once the Radon is internally absorbed. Instead, you should be measuring uCi/liter of air, from which the internal body dose could then be calculated based on length of time breathing the air, etc. You can measure the mR/hr from its gamma emissions, but that doesn't tell you directly what the absorbed dose would be, as the absorbed dose would include the alpha emissions, which are significantly greater.
     
  21. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    As a follow-up, I googled Radium Hot Springs, and the only web-site I found that references the radium itself was the Wikipedia site:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radium_Hot_Springs,_British_Columbia

    Several score other web-sites tout the therapeutic benefits of the mineral baths, and give the concentrations of the most abundant minerals (not radium, of course) in the natural hot water. Most of the sites now reference the other amenities of the area (golf, Big Game, etc.) other than the hot springs. I couldn't even find a reference to the origin of the name Radium Hot Springs! It's as if the radium doesn't exist.

    When I last visited Radium Hot Springs in late 1982, the local advertising was still touting the therapeutic benefits of the radium in the bath water.

    The Wikipedia article references about 23 pCi/liter for the out-door air Radon concentration, about 6-fold higher than allowable for indoors in a residence. A few minutes of breathing of such air would be relatively inconsequential, though not strongly advisable. The article does not make mention of the indoor concentration, though since Radon is heavy, its accumulation in basement areas around those parts of the country might be substantially higher and a potential problem that should be investigated.

    Of course, in their hey-day, radium springs were very popular in the US and elsewhere (such as Radium Hot Springs, BC). Because radium is a calcium analog, it leaches out of rock with hot water quite easily. When it was discovered that those hot springs contain radium (shortly after radium was identified as an element by the Curies), the therapeutic benefit of a hot-tub was mistakenly attributed to the presence of the radium. Thus, the Revigator business was born.

    Since most people could not travel to the hot springs, the inventors of the Revigator and similar products brought the radium to the people. Revigators are clay pots with uranium ore admixed, fired and glazed on the outside, with a spigot at the bottom. Placing water into the pot will slowly leach out some of the radium, giving a relatively constant dose of radium in each glass if continuously used. The recommended amount was 6 glasses of radium water/day. The AMA of the day would only endorse brands (the Revigator brand was so endorsed) that had a certain minimum amount of radium.

    As the hazards of radium became more widely known, the Revigator fell out of disfavor, and its manufacture abandoned, and they are now collectible items for people who work in nuclear physics, et al. They pose a health-threat due to their Radon releases if not properly sealed, and have relatively high beta readings on their interior.

    Hope I didn't hijack this thread too much.
     
  22. FreshHat Registered Senior Member

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    Don't know if it's still there, but Kingston General Hospital (Kingston,Ontario) had a Revigator on display, along with ads for radium beauty cream, and an early X-Ray device in the entrance area of the hospital.
     
  23. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for that. I donated one to a hospital (Salinas Valley Memorial in Monterey County, CA) which has a Medical Museum, including a section on quackery medicine which is where it was destined. They do need to be hermetically sealed to preclude escape of Radon gas, if they are being used for a museum exhibit.
     

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