Data on uranium and radium in ground water in the United States, 1954 to 1957

Professional Paper 426




This report is one of a series resulting from a study by the U.S. Geological Survey to determine the occurrence and distribution of naturally radioactive substances in water. From 1954-57 uranium and radium concentrations were determined in 561 samples, mainly of ground water, having wide geologic and geographic distribution. These concentrations, together with data on the hydrologic and geologic environment, the beta-gamma activity, and the chemical characteristics of each sample, are tabulated by States.

The conterminous United States was subdivided into 10 geotectonic regions to facilitate statistical interpretation of the occurrence of uranium and radium in fresh water in approximately homogeneous geologic provinces. For each geotectonic region, the range and median were determined for the concentrations of radium and uranium; for regions from which sufficient data were available, log-normal frequency distribution curves were calculated and superimposed on histograms of radium and uranium concentrations in the samples. An "anomaly threshold" is suggested for both radioelements for each region analyzed statistically. The western stable region had the greatest median and highest "anomaly threshold" for uranium. This region also had the highest "anomaly threshold" for radium, but the largest median for radium was found for samples collected in the Ozark-Ouachita system. The median concentration for uranium was lowest for the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain and the Pacific orogenic belt. This latter region also had the lowest median-radium content.

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USGS Numbered Series
Data on uranium and radium in ground water in the United States, 1954 to 1957
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Professional Paper
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Contributing office(s):
Alaska Science Center
115 p.