Radiometric, SEM and XRD investigation of the Chituc black sands, southern Danube Delta, Romania

J Environ Radioact. 2014 Dec;138:72-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2014.08.006. Epub 2014 Sep 1.


The black sand of the Chituc marine sand bank, northern of the city of Navodari (Romania), presents anomalous high radioactivity. Field measurements recorded in some places dose rate up to 200 nSv/h, significantly overpassing the average value of 44 ± 20 nSv/h along the entire Southern sector of Romanian Black Sea shore. Gamma ray spectrometry performed on both Slanic-Prahova Underground Low Background Laboratory and Geological Institute of Romania Radiometric Facilities showed with clarity the dominance of (228)Ac radioisotope in the 50 microns fraction together with the (226)Ra and traces of (40)K. No significant amount of anthropogenic (137)Cs was identified. Based on radiometric as well as on SEM-EDAX and XRD determinations we come to the conclusion that the evidenced radioactivity could be attributed to both uranium and thorium series in the zircon and monazite fractions and to a lesser extent to potassium in the feldspars.

Keywords: Black sand; Chituc sand bank; High background; Natural radioactivity; Western Black Sea shore.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Background Radiation*
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Romania
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive / analysis*
  • Spectrometry, Gamma
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Radioisotopes
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive