Radon decay products and their application to uranium exploration

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 812, 1979

JEFFREY W. CARD Research Associate, KEITH BELL, Professor of Geology, Geology Department, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario

The decay of 222Rn yields a series of short-lived decay products which become attached to the surface of opiate or wire exposed in a 222Rn-bearing atmosphere. The alpha-activity of two of the decay products, 2l8Po and 2I4Po, can be measured by simple counting techniques. This phenomenon may have direct application to uranium exploration.Laboratory studies have shown that:(a) radon decay products can be collected on a wide variety of materials (including various kinds of metals and plastics);(b) activity increases as a function of the surface area of the 'collector'; and(c) the collection of the decay products is enhanced by applying a negative charge.The new technique was used in situ to delineate the anomaly above the South March uranium-copper occurrence. A related technique was developed to measure radium in soil samples. The results of both studies compared favourably with those obtained from conventional methods.
Keywords: Exploration, Uranium exploration, Radon, Decay products, South March deposit, Radium, Soils.