USGS Logo Geological Survey Bulletin 395
Radioactivity of the Thermal Waters of Yellowstone National Park




Purpose of the report
Waters in Yellowstone Park
Scope of the investigation
General plan of work


Description of electroscopes
Standardizing the electroscopes
Electric capacity

Methods of procedure

Field examination of gases
Field tests of waters
Testing of solids

Results of the experiments

General statement
Example showing method
Radioactivity of gases
Radioactivity of waters
Radioactivity of water residues, spring deposits, and rock samples
Summary of radioactivities

Discussion of results

Gas activities
   Thorium emanation
   Relative activity
   Gases from European springs
   Helium not determined
Activity of waters
   Inferences from different results
   Comparison with European waters
Radium content of deposits of rocks
   Comparative activities of different rocks
   Radioactive equilibrium
   Estimate of age of deposits
   Comparative test for uranium by analysis
Relation to hydrothermal activity



I. Grotto Geyser, Yellowstone National Park

II. Norris Geyser Basin

III. A, Old Faithful Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin; B, Hot Spring, Norris Geyser Basin, where thorium was first discovered in the United States

IV. Morning Glory Pool, Upper Geyser Basin


1. Electroscope

2. Apparatus for separating emanation from uraninite

3. Apparatus for qualitative tests in the field

4. Curves showing difference in the radioactivity of gases containing (A) thorium and radium emanation and (B) radium emanation

5. Apparatus for collecting gas in the field

6. Detail of apparatus for collecting gas in the field

7. Decay curve of radium emanation

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Last Updated: 20-Nov-2007