The aim of this research was to study the geochemistry of uranium and thorium in phosphate deposits in the upper Cretaceous phosphate deposits in the Syrian coastal area. The study covered three sites, namely Ain Al-Tenah, Ain Laylon, and Al-Mhalbeh. Petrographical study showed that phosphate deposits are of nodular type with micrit to microspaite cement, containing siliceous bone residues, and green grains of glauconite, which are increasing in abundance and volume in the south toward Al-Mhalbeh, reflecting the formation of phosphate in a shallow marine environment. In addition, uranium concentration varied between 3 and 112 ppm in Ain Laylon, 4.2–17 ppm in Ain Al-Tenah and 5–61 ppm in Al-Mhalbeh. Thorium concentration varied between 0.2 and 7.5 ppm in Ain Laylon, 0.3–1.4 ppm in Ain Al-Tenah and 0.3–4.4 ppm in Al-Mhalbeh. The average Th/U ratio in the collected samples was within the range 0.04–0.08 except for five samples which exceeded the value 0.1. Moreover, the 226Ra/238U ratios are lower than unity in all samples, while the 210Pb/238U ratios ranged between 0.4 and 1.2 and the 210Pb/226Ra ratios were found to be higher than unity. On the other hand, the impact of leaching and mobility of uranium and thorium from deposits to the surrounding agriculture fields in the area has been studied using the Radium Equivalent Activity Index (Raeq). The equivalent radium activity was 102 Bq kg−1 in Ain Al-Tenah, 403 Bq kg−1 in Ain Laylon, 407 Bq kg−1 in Al-Mhalbeh and 749 Bq kg−1 in agricultural soil samples. However, the data reported in this study can be considered as a baseline data for the phosphate deposits at the coastal area.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Abbady, A. G., Uosif, M. A. M., & El-Taher, A. (2005). Natural radioactivity and dose assessment for phosphate rocks from Wadi El-Mashash and El-Mahamid Mines, Egypt. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 84, 65.
Abbas, M. (1992). Int. Sym and field workshop on phosphorites, Assiut, Egypt, February 22–March 1.
Abbas, M. (1995). Int. Sym and field workshop IGCP325. Abstract; Abbottabad, May 21–25.
Abbas, M., Mouty, M., Maleh, A., Lucas, J., & Prevot, L. (1993). Geochemistry of Senonian phosphorites in Northern Palmyrides and Coastal area, Syria (pp. 96). Damascus: Dept. of Geology and Nuclear Ores, Atomic Energy Commission of Syria.
Abbas, M., Prevot, L., & Lucas, J. (1985). Science Geology Memories, 77, 35–39.
Adams, J., & Weaver, C. E. (1958). Thorium-to uranium ratios as indicators of sedimentary processes: example of geochemical facies. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 42(2), 387–430.
Al-bub, S. (2011). Study of the structural and structural evolution of the Cretaceous formations in the coastal range—Syria. Ph.D. thesis. Syria: University of Damascus.
Al-Hilal, M., & Al-Ali, A. (2016). Investigation for uranium dispersion adjacent to cretaceous phosphatic outcrops in Al-Nassrieh Basin, Southern Palmyrides, Syria. Journal of Earth Science, 27(5), 786–794.
Al-Masri, M. S., Amin, Y., Hassan, M., & Ibrahim, S. (2006). External gamma-radiation dose to Syrian population based on the measurement of gamma-emitters in soils. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 267(2), 337–343.
Altschuler, Z. S. (1980). The geochemistry of trace elements in marine phosphorites, Part I: Characteristic abundances and enrichment. In Y.K. Bentor (Ed.), Marine Phosphorite. Soc. Econ. Paleontol. Mineral. Spe Publ. 29. Tulsa (pp. 19–20).
Asfahani, J., Aissa, M., & Al-Hent, R. (2005). Radioactive characteristics of geological formations and the role of solutions of Jabal Abou Rabah-Foroqlus area. Geology Department, Atomic Energy Commission Damascus-Syria.
Atfeh, S. (1967). Ph.D. thesis, University of London, King’s College, 348p.
Becker, P. (1993). Phosphates and phosphoric acid, fertilizer science and technology. New York: Marcel Decker Inc.
Beretka, I., & Mathew, P. I. (1985). Natural radioactivity of Australian building materials, waste and byproducts. Health Physics, 48, 87–95.
Condomines, M., Loubeau, O., & Patrier, P. (2007). Recent mobilization of U-series radionuclides in the Bernardan U deposit (French Massif Central). Chemical Geology, 244, 304–315.
Dunham, R.J. 1962. Classification of carbonate rocks according to depositional texture. In W. E. Ham (Ed.), Classification of carbonate rocks. Am. Assoc. Pet. Geol. Mem., 1 (pp. 108–121).
El-Gabar, A., El-Arabi, M., & Khalifa, I. H. (2002). Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 61, 169.
Guimond, R. J. (1990). Radium in fertilizers. Technical report no. 310 international atomic energy agency (IAEA), Environmental behavior of radium (pp. 113–128).
Hussein, E. M. (1994). Radioactivity of phosphate ore, superphosphate and phosphogypsum in Abu-Zaabal phosphate plant, Egypt. Journal of Health Physics, 67, 280–283.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). (1979). Gamma ray surveys in uranium exploration. Technical report series no. 186, International Atomic Energy Agency.
Ivanovich, M., & Harmon, R. S. (1992). Uranium series disequilibrium: Applications to earth, marine and environmental sciences. Oxford: Carendon Press.
Jingjian, Z., Yongyi, C., & Juncheng, Y. (1992). Institute for application of atomic energy (p. 561). Beijing: CAAS.
Jubeli, Y., Aissa, M., & Al-Hilall, M. (1999). The role of solutions and uranium geochemistry in the geological formations of Jabal Abou-Rejmain-Northern Palmyrides, Atomic Energy Commission, Report No. AECS-G/FRSR 192, September 1999.
Makweba, M. M., & Holm, E. (1993). The natural radioactivity of the rock phosphates, phosphatic products and their environmental implications. The Science of the Total Environment, 133, 99–110.
Olszewska-Wasiolek, M. (1995). Estimates of the occupational radiological hazard in phosphate fertilizers industry in Poland. Journal of Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 58, 269–276.
Ruski, R. (1978). Explanatory note of sheet Al Qaradaha NI 37–S–1–C, G. E. G. M. R. Damascus: Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
Ruski, R., Shalash, J., Youssef, S., Muti, M., Nasri, S., & Alloush, B. (1978). Geological map of Al Qardaha patch. 1: 50000, G. E. G. M. R. Damascus: Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). (2000). Sources and effects of ionizing radiation. Report to the General Assembly, with Scientific Annexes VOLUME I: SOURCES.
Wedepohl, H. K. (1995). The composition of the continental crust. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 59.
World Health Organization. (WHO), Guidelines for drinking-water quality (3rd edn.). Geneva.
Yousef, S. (1979). Explanatory Note of Sheet Haffeh NI 37–S–3–a, G. E. G. M. R. Damascus: Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
Yousef, S., Baalbaki, M. K., Ajamian, J., & Solayman, Y. (1979). Geological Map of Haffah patch 1:50000, G. E. G. M. R. Damascus: Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
The authors wish to express their deep gratitude to Prof I. Othman General Director of the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission for his support. Prof. A.M. Mouhamad the head of the Department of Geology at Tishreen University is thankful for his constant encouragements and support.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Ghadeer, A., Ibrahim, A. & Al-Masri, M.S. Geochemistry of uranium and thorium in phosphate deposits at the Syrian coastal area (Al-Haffah and Al-Qaradaha) and their environmental impacts. Environ Geochem Health 41, 1861–1873 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-018-0221-x
- Coastal area
- Environmental impact