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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 98-101

Origin of thorium deposits in Kerala beach sands

Ex-Radiation Safety Systems Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai 400085, Maharashtra, India; Ex-Professional, IAEA, Vienna, Austria, India

Correspondence Address:
M R Iyer
Bungalow D 4, Raj Kunj Society, Chembur, Mumbai - 400 074, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-0464.169381

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The origin of the thorium deposits on the West Coast of India is not well established though a number of studies on the various aspects of these deposits have been carried out for more than 50 years. The deposits are believed to be washed down from highlands through water streams. It is proposed that atom ratios of various radioactive and stable products in the uranium and thorium series as a function of time could be effectively used for the purpose. Accordingly, the various ratios have been calculated as a function of the age in the time range of 100-70,000 years. The stable products are included for the first time.Pb-208/Th-232 in Th-232 series, Pb-207/U-235, Pb-207/Pa-231, and in U-235 series and Pb-206/U-238, Pb-206/U-234, Pb-206/Th-230, and Pb206/Ra226 in U-238 series, are presented. The ratios show significant variations in the time range studied. The ratio Pb-206/Pb-207 from the two uranium series is of interest and is examined. This ratio shows a variation of up to 100 times whereas, the natural isotopic ratio is around unity. It is suggested that an extensive measurement of these ratios and their correlation in samples from the hypothesized source in highlands, in river beds, and on the beach sand might give some idea of the transport path for these minerals. Further, it is suggested to measure the ratio of all the lead isotopes from the three series with Pb-204 which is purely of primordial in origin which would also be useful to indicate the contribution from radiogenic sources. In order to undertake such a project which, of course, involves many disciplines large efforts in sampling, in modeling of possible transport paths and strategies for analysis are required.

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