Geochemical characteristics, hazards impact assessment and radiogenic heat production of the alkaline rocks

Essam Sidique, Mervat A. Elhaddad, Mabrouk Sami, Ioan V. Sanislav, Fahad Alshehri, Mohamed S. Ahmed, Hassan Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study primarily investigates the natural radioactivity level in alkaline rocks collected from the Wadi El-Dib ring complex (WDRC) in North Eastern Desert of Egypt, and assesses potential health risks associated with their use as decorative building materials. The work was accomplished using a high-purity germanium detector as well as ICP-MS and ICP-AES techniques. The WDRC composed essentially of trachyte, quartz syenite, granite and syenite. Geochemically, these rocks contain high SiO2 and alkalis with metaluminous to slightly peraluminous features. All rocks contain high concentrations of rare earth elements (∑REEs = 109–1075 ppm), with clear enrichment in light REEs compared to heavy REEs [(La/Yb)N = 8.3–25.3. Radiometrically, the concentrations of the natural radioisotopes (238U, 232Th, and 40K) in the studied rock types surpassed the worldwide average values assigned for building materials by UNSCEAR. This elevation of the radioisotope concentration values is due to the presence of supplement minerals such as monazite, zircon, allanite, and rutile. Granites exhibit the highest mean concentrations of 238U (av. 164.24 ± 14.76 Bq/kg) and 232Th (av. 214.37 ± 23.33 Bq/kg), while trachytes demonstrate the highest 40K (av. 1352.56 ± 65.56 Bq/kg) concentrations. In contrast, syenites exhibite the lowest mean concentrations for 238U (av. 54.51 ± 6.81 Bq/kg) and 232Th (av. 56.76 ± 6.25 Bq/kg), while quartz syenites display the lowest mean concentration of 40K (av. 1144.78 ± 96.19 Bq/kg). The radiogenic heat production (RHP) associated with U, Th, and K range between 1.41 to 9.33 μW/m3, exceeding the typical crustal mean value of 0.8 to 1.2 μW/m3. The radiological parameters and indices evaluating risks of the outdoor and indoor radiation doses due to the investigated rocks were assessed. The results indicated that these rocks meet globally accepted values and safety standards (approved by UNSCEAR, ICRP, and EC) for surface building materials, as well as they underscore the importance of adhering to safety protocols to safeguard workers from radiation exposure within the WDRC area. Ultimately, the data herein provide a valuable database for assessing the compatibility of geochemical data and natural radioactivity level in WDRC rocks. Additionally, it reveals that from the radiological perspective, the investigated rocks are considered safe for use as decorative construction materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9121
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Alkaline rocks
  • HPGe detector
  • Natural radionuclides
  • REEs Geochemistry
  • Radiological hazards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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