Geochemical characteristics, hazards impact assessment and radiogenic heat production of the alkaline rocks

Sidique, Essam, Elhaddad, Mervat A., Sami, Mabrouk, Sanislav, Ioan V., Alshehri, Fahad, Ahmed, Mohamed S., and Abbas, Hassan (2024) Geochemical characteristics, hazards impact assessment and radiogenic heat production of the alkaline rocks. Scientific Reports, 14. 9121.

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This study primarily investigates the natural radioactivity level in alkaline rocks collected from the Wadi El-Dib ring complex (WDRC) in North Eastern Desert of Egypt, and assesses potential health risks associated with their use as decorative building materials. The work was accomplished using a high-purity germanium detector as well as ICP-MS and ICP-AES techniques. The WDRC composed essentially of trachyte, quartz syenite, granite and syenite. Geochemically, these rocks contain high SiO2 and alkalis with metaluminous to slightly peraluminous features. All rocks contain high concentrations of rare earth elements (∑REEs = 109–1075 ppm), with clear enrichment in light REEs compared to heavy REEs [(La/Yb)N = 8.3–25.3. Radiometrically, the concentrations of the natural radioisotopes (238U, 232Th, and 40K) in the studied rock types surpassed the worldwide average values assigned for building materials by UNSCEAR. This elevation of the radioisotope concentration values is due to the presence of supplement minerals such as monazite, zircon, allanite, and rutile. Granites exhibit the highest mean concentrations of 238U (av. 164.24 ± 14.76 Bq/kg) and 232Th (av. 214.37 ± 23.33 Bq/kg), while trachytes demonstrate the highest 40K (av. 1352.56 ± 65.56 Bq/kg) concentrations. In contrast, syenites exhibite the lowest mean concentrations for 238U (av. 54.51 ± 6.81 Bq/kg) and 232Th (av. 56.76 ± 6.25 Bq/kg), while quartz syenites display the lowest mean concentration of 40K (av. 1144.78 ± 96.19 Bq/kg). The radiogenic heat production (RHP) associated with U, Th, and K range between 1.41 to 9.33 μW/m3, exceeding the typical crustal mean value of 0.8 to 1.2 μW/m3. The radiological parameters and indices evaluating risks of the outdoor and indoor radiation doses due to the investigated rocks were assessed. The results indicated that these rocks meet globally accepted values and safety standards (approved by UNSCEAR, ICRP, and EC) for surface building materials, as well as they underscore the importance of adhering to safety protocols to safeguard workers from radiation exposure within the WDRC area. Ultimately, the data herein provide a valuable database for assessing the compatibility of geochemical data and natural radioactivity level in WDRC rocks. Additionally, it reveals that from the radiological perspective, the investigated rocks are considered safe for use as decorative construction materials.

Item ID: 82619
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Keywords: Alkaline rocks, Natural radionuclides, REEs Geochemistry, HPGe detector, Radiological hazards
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2024. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 02 May 2024 00:34
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3703 Geochemistry > 370302 Inorganic geochemistry @ 40%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3705 Geology > 370503 Igneous and metamorphic petrology @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4199 Other environmental sciences > 419999 Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified @ 10%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280107 Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences @ 100%
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