Radon emanation has been monitored in shallow capped holes by a Tracketch method along several active faults and in the vicinity of some volcanoes and underground nuclear explosions. The measured emanation shows large temporal variations that appear to be partly related to crustal strain changes. This paper proposes a model that may explain the observed tectonic variations in radon emanation, and explores the possibility of using radon emanation as an indicator of crustal deformation. In this model the emanation variation is assumed to be due to the perturbation of near-surface profile of radon concentration in the soil gas caused by a change in the vertical flow rate of the soil gas which, in turn, is caused by the crustal deformation. It is shown that, for a typical soil, a small change in the flow rate (3 ?? 10-4 cm sec-1) can effect a significant change (a factor of 2) in radon emanation detected at a fixed shallow depth (0.7 m). The radon concentration profile has been monitored at several depths at a selected site to test the model. The results appear to be in satisfactory agreement. ?? 1979.
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On radon emanation as a possible indicator of crustal deformation