Natural Radioactivity and Radiological Implications of Stream Sediments at Wadi Aidib Area, South Eastern Desert, Egypt
Wadi Aidib lies at the extreme southern part of the Eastern Desert, Egypt, between 22o15'- 22o21' N and Longitudes 36o20'-36o30' E. Landsat ETM+ false color composite image (bands 3, 2, 1) was used for regional discrimination for different rock types and provide an excellent base map for the study area, morphological features of the stream deposits of the study area were known from Landsat ETM images, in addition to several field observations. The studied stream sediments accumulate in the form of alluvial fans. They are mainly composed of sands, gravels, boulders and contain some heavy valuable minerals which are derived from metavolcanics, metasediments, quartz diorite, biotite and alkali feldspar granites. Heavy liquid separation and magnetic separation techniques in addition to microscopic examination for the studied stream sediment samples were applied to identify the heavy minerals in these sediments. These minerals are represented by magnetite, ilmenite, rutile, garnet, zircon, monazite and Green silicates. The distribution of some elements in the study area is clear that they are concentrated near the outcrops of granites. The radionuclide concentrations were measured in different stations using a calibrated gamma-ray portable detector (RS 230) and the heavy minerals causing radioactivity were separated by heavy liquids and determined by binuclear and environmental scanning electron microscopes. Uranium ranges between 5.25 and 32.05 ppm with an average of 16.63 ppm, Th between 4.4 and 17 ppm with 11.34 ppm as an average and potassium fall between 1.8 and 5.15% with an average of 3.4 %. Correlation between soil radioactivity and its mineralogical content indicate that the high radionuclides contents are mainly attributed to the presence of monazite which is the principal source of both uranium and thorium. Uranium high concentrations could be related to the metamict zircon. Absorbed Dose Rate (D), annual effective dose equivalent radium equivalent activity, external and internal hazard index, in addition to activity gamma index caused by gamma-emitting natural radionuclide are determined from the obtained values of 238U, 232Th and 40K. Fairly, some of the studied stations do not satisfy the universal standards. 40K plays the main and most important role in dose rate contribution.