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Title: Baseline thorium concentration and isotope ratios in topsoil of Zacatecas State, Mexico
Authors: Escareño-Juarez, Edmundo
Jiménez Barredo, Fernando
Gascó, Catalina
Barrado-Olmedo, Ana Isabel
Vega, Marisol
Keywords: ThoMexicorium;Topsoil;Mexico;Isotopic disequilibrium;Background concentration;Geoaccumulation index;Enrichment factor
Issue Date: Apr-2021
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Chemosphere, 2021, 268, 128915
Abstract: Thorium is a radionuclide highly widespread in the earth’s crust with a relevant contribution to the exposure to radiation of living organisms. Natural concentrations of thorium in the soil can be altered due to human activities such as mining, agriculture, and cattle industry. Mining and related industry have been operating for centuries in Zacatecas State, Mexico, leaving mining waste dumps that can release trace elements to the topsoil. There are not enough previous studies of thorium concentration in this area. Thirty-three soil samples from different locations from Zacatecas State were analyzed, using alpha-spectrometry and ICP-MS, to estimate the reference value for thorium in surface soil in order to provide regulatory agencies with a tool to verify possible disturbances due to anthropogenic activities. Geoaccumulation indexes and enrichment factors did not reveal significant alterations in topsoil thorium concentration. The average concentration was 13.6 ± 7.6 mg kg−1, which is consistent with the estimated average concentration in the earth crust and is then proposed as average basal concentration for this region. A slight disequilibrium has been found between the natural isotopes of thorium due to the semi-arid nature of the areas and climatic factors.
ISSN: 0045-6535
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.128915
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Series de Uranio

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