By: B. D. Black and B. J. Solomon
Radon is a radioactive gas of geologic origin that is an environmental concern because of its link to lung cancer. Radon is derived from the decay of uranium, and can accumulate indoors in sufficient quantities to pose a health hazard to building occupants. Although the influence of non-geologic factors such as construction type, lifestyle, and weather is difficult to measure, geologic factors that influence indoor-radon levels can be quantified to assess the hazard potential.
Geologic factors that influence indoor-radon levels have been studied for three areas in northern Utah to indicate where indoor radon may be a hazard and radon-resistant techniques should be considered in new construction. The three areas include the lower Weber River area in Davis and Weber Counties, Tooele Valley in Tooele County, and southeastern Cache Valley in Cache County. These areas all lie in the depositional basin of Pleistocene Lake Bonneville, and display common geologic characteristics which affect their potential for radon hazards.
A numerical rating system was used to assess and map the relative radon-hazard potential in the three study areas. A high-hazard potential was typically found along range fronts where uranium concentrations are higher, ground water is deep, and soils are permeable. Although soil-gas and indoor-radon concentrations broadly correlate to mapped hazard potential, the correlation is imperfect because of atmospheric contamination of soil-gas samples, the presence of locally anomalous concentrations of radon which are beyond the resolution of the sampling grid or map scale, and the effects of non-geologic factors which are not considered in this geologic assessment.
Pages: 56 p.
Plates: 1 pl.
Location: Cache, Davis, Tooele, and Weber Counties
Media Type: Paper Publication