Abstract

The state of Azad Kashmir is rich in three types of rocks, namely, sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. These rocks contain extensive deposits of graphite, marble, limestone, quartzite, granite, dolerite, and sandstone, which are widely used for the construction of dwellings in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. Therefore, knowledge about the presence of natural radioactivity in these materials is desirable to assess the radiological hazards associated with it. In this context, 30 rock samples were collected from different geologic formations of the Muzaffarabad Division, Azad Kashmir. After processing the samples, the specific activities of 226Ra, 232Th, and 40K in them were measured using a P-type coaxial high-purity germanium detector. The observed highest dose rate values for sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks have been found to be 83.16 ± 1.08, 135.87 ± 1.18, and 115.98 ± 1 nGy ⋅ h–1, respectively. The radium equivalent activity (Raeq) varied from 23.76 ± 1.15 for dolerite sample (igneous rock) to 293.69 ± 2.60 Bq ⋅ kg–1 for marble (metamorphic rock). The Raeq values of all rock samples are lower than the limit mentioned in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 1979) report (370 Bq ⋅ kg–1, equivalent to γ-dose of 1.5 mSv ⋅ y–1). The values of external (Hex) and internal hazard indices (Hin) are less than unity. The mean outdoor and indoor annual effective dose equivalents are 0.073 mSv ⋅ y–1 and 0.29 mSv ⋅ y–1, respectively. The mean (over all types of rock samples) annual effective dose equivalent is reported as 0.36 mSv ⋅ y–1.

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