Understanding the activity of Radon-222 in a sand dune aquifer of an arid region through the application of machine learning

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Groundwater samples, collected from the sand dune aquifer of Abu Dhabi Emirates, were analyzed for Radon-222 and total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations. Results indicated that mean Radon-222 concentrations are 7.1 Bq/L in Remah and 7.6 Bq/L in Al Khatim-Al Khaznah areas. These concentrations of Radon-222 were found to be below both WHO and USEPA standard limits; and less than those of Al Ain carbonate aquifer in the vicinity of study area. The TDS concentration was 3184 mg/L and 9878 in Remah and Al Khatim-Al Khaznah groundwater samples, respectively. The correlation between Radon-222 and TDS concentrations was found to be weak, indicating that anthropogenic factors are altering the characteristics of groundwater in the study areas. Higher concentration of TDS in Al Khatim can be attributed to the long-distance rock-water interaction as well as agricultural activities. Radon-222 concentrations in both study areas are due to natural radioactivity of the source aquifer. The effective dose estimation based on these concentrations showed many samples exceeding WHO (2006) limit of 0.04 mSv/a. The carcinogenic risk on the population due to ingestion (stomach and tissue cancer) and inhalation (lungs cancer) was estimated to be in the range of 0.6–23 in a million and 0.15 to 5.7 in a million, respectively. Additional analysis was carried out using unsupervised machine learning algorithms. The k-means algorithm showed two clusters with Radon-222 higher and lower than 11.1 Bq/L. The DBSCAN algorithm showed that there is a presence of possible high concentration of Uranium-238 source near the groundwater at Al Khatim study area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100667
JournalGroundwater for Sustainable Development
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Abu dhabi
  • Groundwater
  • Radon-222
  • Total dissolved solids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology


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