Gamma-ray spectrometry in geothermal exploration: state of the art techniques

Mccay, A. , Harley, T., Younger, P. , Sanderson, D. and Cresswell, A. (2014) Gamma-ray spectrometry in geothermal exploration: state of the art techniques. Energies, 7(8), pp. 4757-4780. (doi: 10.3390/en7084757)

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Gamma-ray spectrometry is a surveying technique that allows the calculation of the heat produced during radioactive decay of potassium, uranium, and thorium within rock. Radiogenic heat producing rocks are often targets for geothermal exploration and production. Hence, refinements in gamma-ray spectrometry surveying will allow better constraint of resources estimation and help to target drilling. Gamma-rays have long half-lengths compared to other radiation produced during radiogenic decay. This property allows the gamma-rays to penetrate far enough through media to be detected by airborne or ground based surveying. A recent example of ground-based surveying in Scotland shows the ability of gamma-ray spectrometry to quickly and efficiently categorize granite plutons as low or high heat producing. Some sedimentary rocks (e.g., black shales) also have high radiogenic heat production properties and could be future geothermal targets. Topographical, atmospheric and spatial distribution factors (among others) can complicate the collection of accurate gamma-ray data in the field. Quantifying and dealing with such inaccuracies represents an area for further improvement of these techniques for geothermal applications.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mccay, Dr Alistair and Harley, Mr Thomas and Younger, Professor Paul and Sanderson, Professor David and Cresswell, Dr Alan
Authors: Mccay, A., Harley, T., Younger, P., Sanderson, D., and Cresswell, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Energies
ISSN (Online):1996-1073
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in Energies 7(8):4757-4780
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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