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Radiation and Earthcaching


Juicepig
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There is an area a little north of me that is fairly dense in Uranium - many open pit mines have attempted to open here but the locals have always prevailed in detering the mines from opening up.

 

 

I was wondering if anyone had seem any Radiation based earthcaches. I tried the following but it didn't work:

 

 

- Go at night and use some non-exposed film, lay it on the ground under some rocks and come back in a few hours

 

 

Hoping that would work - but it didn't seem to. I have also been told to look for crystals in the area that may have been altered by the radiation, but there doesn't seem to be any.

 

 

I suspect that the film idea wont work as the Uranium isn't processed.. but im not an expert on this. Anyone have any insight?

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Hey Juicepig - I think somebody is having you on about there being radioactivity near a uranium mine! In it's natural state uranium is absolutely harmless. It is found as a by-product to both gold and platinum mines in South Africa where I have worked all my life and I certainly am of sane mind still. :blink: Sorry about that. :blink:

 

I am sure that some geologist will answer in more detail for you.

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In it's natural state uranium is absolutely harmless.

 

Darn, there goes my idea of this question for this earthcache - Comb your hair one day before visiting this EarthCache and then one week afterwards. Count the difference in the amount of hair that fell out both days and report it in an email.

 

Seriously - In North America uranium is found in two different minerals - vanadium and uraninite. I would concentrate my questions around the minerals themselves - if they can be found on the surface of the site you are bringing your visitors to.

 

Has any mining ever been done in this area?

 

Typically, mining is done via the open pit process. Your questions could address this process.

 

If your site has an been mined extensively, there should be a huge waste pile. You could discuss why the waste pile exists and ask your visitors to measure it.

 

If the community near the mining site has any informational exibits about the uranium resouces in the area (museum, nature center, etc) you could bring your visitors here and have them answer questions from the information provided.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Deane

AKA: DeRock & the Psychic Cacher - Grattan MI

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Has any mining ever been done in this area?

 

Typically, mining is done via the open pit process. Your questions could address this process.

 

If your site has an been mined extensively, there should be a huge waste pile. You could discuss why the waste pile exists and ask your visitors to measure it.

 

 

Thanks guys! i will look into that. Open pit mining has been done but not extensively - and the area that this occured is fenced off and deep in the forest away from (most) prying eyes. Unless I can think of something mind blowing, I will likely put this on my pile of answers to "Any ideas for me?" when it is next asked.

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The weathered zones of primary uranium deposits are normally much easier to identify in terms of their mineralogy. If you've got remobilisation (and inevitably you do) of uranium minerals then you should be able to find other secondary minerals such as Torbernite [Cu(UO2)2(PO4)2·8-12(H2O)] and Carnotite [K202UO3V2O5nH20]. These invariably have striking colours; the former is bright bottle green and the latter bright yellow and might be easier to identify. I don't know if these show up at your location.

 

Let me add another thought:

In Portugal the previously exploited uranium mines are located in schist-greywacke complexes close to the exocontacts of major granitic bodies.

Remember also that granites have natural radiation associated with them. If I remember my old prof correctly around 20 ppm of uranium that will certainly give you a very small kick on a Geiger Counter. However, if you find fluid conduits (faults, fractures and the like) within the granitic body, these areas will invariably give you much higher kicks on your GC.

If these GC's were cheap then your problem would be solved: measure the c/s value at coordinates x and y.

Edited by danieloliveira
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...

Remember also that granites have natural radiation associated with them. If I remember my old prof correctly around 20 ppm of uranium that will certainly give you a very small kick on a Geiger Counter. ...

 

The minerals look like they might actually be common in the area, I will try and find a good spot to find them after the 4 feet of snow melts ;)

 

I explored the idea of "build your own" geiger counter as well, here is a neat idea for you EC-masochists :D

 

FD9VQJTFNI413S7.MEDIUM.jpg

Edited by Juicepig
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I worked with Radio-Active materials.

I would say that a more earth friendly type would do you much better.

 

You can get a Geiger counter to go off almost anywhere.

Heck even those old glow in the dark dials put off enough to make it sing.

 

I would not want to lead anyone to where that was although it might be a good example of what not to do.

I have serious problems from the exposures with no protective clothing at the time.

 

Let me tell you it is not fast it slowly eats you away.

bones,teeth,hair and a few other things.

 

There are some radium mines here in SW Missouri that give off enough radiation to harm you.

Check out Missouri's Lost Radium Mine

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Yup, I have discovered that answer after I looked it up (needs to be processed before its actually radioactive)..

 

I'd like to revisit this statement. Uranium, processed or unprocessed IS radioactive. The difference is in the concentration levels. In the (unprocessed) natural state, it is no more dangerous than the radiation you receive on a flight in an airplane. However, when processed, the concentration levels are high enough that you wouldn't want to stand next to it for very long.

 

Regardless, can you tell us if the uranium occurrence in question is in a sedimentary deposit (such as the Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan) or in an igneous complex (like those found in South Africa as described by cincol)? If you are thinking of the Madawaska/Faraday Mine near Bancroft, you could get people to describe the pegmatite it is found in.

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Actually I have found an area that is full of rare and obscure gemstones caused by the radiation. One of those gems is one that is only found in this location. I have gotten land owner permission.. just gotta wait for some snow to melt to go scout the location.

 

This was exactly what I was looking for, something visable, tangible, and unique. Fantastic! Thanks all!

 

Fluorrichterite Crystals - The only place in the world they exist in nature:

FluororichteriteinCalcite222.jpg

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Actually I have found an area that is full of rare and obscure gemstones caused by the radiation. One of those gems is one that is only found in this location. I have gotten land owner permission.. just gotta wait for some snow to melt to go scout the location.

 

This was exactly what I was looking for, something visable, tangible, and unique. Fantastic! Thanks all!

 

Fluorrichterite Crystals - The only place in the world they exist in nature:

FluororichteriteinCalcite222.jpg

Oooooh, I want a sample for my classroom.

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Neos2

 

I can find this if you want some. Need to wait until the snow melts in the spring now. Was thinking about doing a EarthCache on one of the 6 mines that this could be found in.

 

6 mines=

 

1 on P.P. no permission granted Yet :)

5 with there own EarthCache

1 EarthCache to cover all 5 accessible mines

 

Grand Total = 6 EarthCaches ;):)

 

There is going to be a lot of leg work getting to all of the mines and getting the info that is needed for publishing them.

I have already gained permission from the state to start them, then they will review what I have and let me know if there are any problems.

 

rose_qua.jpg

Rose Quartz <_<

 

I would love to get some of that rock to...

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