Groundwater Radon in North Carolina

Estimation of Groundwater
Radon in North Carolina using Land Use Regression and Bayesian Maximum Entropy.

 

Messier, K.P., Campbell, T., Bradley, P.J.,&Serre, M.L. (2015). Estimation of Groundwater
Radon in North Carolina using Land Use Regression and Bayesian Maximum Entropy.
Environmental Science & Technology, 49(16), 9817-9825.

 

Abstract: 

 

Radon (222Rn) is a naturally occurring chemically inert, colorless, and odorless radioactive gas produced from the decay of uranium (238U), which is ubiquitous in rocks and soils worldwide. Exposure to 222Rn is likely the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking via inhalation; however, exposure through untreated groundwater is also a contributing factor to both inhalation and ingestion routes. A land use regression (LUR) model for groundwater 222Rn with anisotropic geological and 238U based explanatory variables is developed, which helps elucidate the factors contributing to elevated 222Rn across North Carolina. The LUR is also integrated into the Bayesian Maximum Entropy(BME) geostatistical framework to increase accuracy and produce a point-level LUR-BME model of groundwater 222Rn across North Carolina including prediction uncertainty. The LUR-BME model of groundwater 222Rn results in a leave-one out cross-validation r2 of 0.46 (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.68), effectively predicting within the spatial covariance range. Modeled results of 222Rn concentrations show variability among intrusive felsic geological formations likely due to average bedrock 238U defined on the basis of overlying stream-sediment 238U concentrations that is a widely distributed consistently analyzed point-source data.

 

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