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Energies 2014, 7(8), 4757-4780; doi:10.3390/en7084757

Gamma-ray Spectrometry in Geothermal Exploration: State of the Art Techniques

1
School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, James Watt (South) Building, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
2
The Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC), Rankine Avenue, Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, East Kilbride G7 0QF, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 23 June 2014 / Accepted: 7 July 2014 / Published: 24 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geothermal Energy: Delivering on the Global Potential)
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy; geothermal; gamma; radiation; resource; spectroscopy; granite; Scotland; survey energy; geothermal; gamma; radiation; resource; spectroscopy; granite; Scotland; survey
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

McCay, A.T.; Harley, T.L.; Younger, P.L.; Sanderson, D.C.W.; Cresswell, A.J. Gamma-ray Spectrometry in Geothermal Exploration: State of the Art Techniques. Energies 2014, 7, 4757-4780.

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