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Multiparametric study (natural radioactivity and trace element geochemistry) of Seismic areas

The project has yielded results in two different ways: specific instrumentation and field data - data analysis.


Rn probes: The project needed to have continuous measurements of radon either in the soil or in the water. For this purpose a special automatic radon probe has been elaborated. This probe is able to record Rn concentration over two months in the field at time intervals from 1 min. to 2 days. Nine of these probes were built for the project. -Gamma spectrometer: Continuous recording of the gamma field was planned. A special gamma spectrometer has been built for underground operation. The spectrometer is characterized by a low backgrounds. Its sensitive part is a NaI(Tl) crystal.-Multiparameter probe. A fully automated and interactive system for analyzing physico-chemical parameter (values of ambient and water temperature, pressure, conductivity) and ionic activities by ion selective electrodes (Eh, pH, pCO2, etc.) has been studied and entirely designed before prototyping.

Field data:
a precursory Radon signal has been recorded before a M6.8 earthquake in the Caucasus
-a precursory Radon signal has been recorded before a M7.0 earthquake in the Chasma region
-no precursory signal was observed in the time dependant gamma field variation, associated with the same Caucasus earthquake
-water analysis shows that the Chasma spring contains, amazingly enough, a high content in some major ions such as NO3, SO4, Na and Cl the water of the Chasma spring was found unsafe for drinking and the population was informed
-the water content in trace elements is remarkably constant. No anomalous variation has been observed. The Chasma spring is a good candidate for providing potential hydrogeochemical precursors of earthquakes.

Reported by

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Délégation Régionale Languedoc-Roussillon
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