Radioactive equilibrium in eight marine sedimentary formations has been studied by means of direct determinations of uranium, radium and thorium. Alpha-particle counting has also been carried out in order to cross-calibrate thick-source counting techniques. The maximum deviation from radioactive equilibrium that has been noted is 11 per cent-indicating that there is probably equilibrium in all the formations analyzed. Thick-source alpha-particle counting by means of a proportional counter or an ionization chamber leads to high results when the samples contain less than about 10 p.p.m. of uranium. For samples having a higher content of uranium the results are in excellent agreement with each other and with those obtained by direct analytical techniques. The thorium contents that have been obtained correspond well to the average values reported in the literature. The uranium content of marine sediments may be appreciably higher than the average values that have been reported for sedimentary rocks. Data show that there is up to fourteen times the percentage of uranium as of thorium in the formations studied and that the percentage of thorium never exceeds that of uranium. While the proximity of a depositional environment to a land mass may influence the concentration of uranium in a marine sediment, this is not true with thorium. ?? 1955.
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Radioactive equilibrium in ancient marine sediments