12.091 | January IAP 2006 | Undergraduate

Medical Geology/Geochemistry: An Exposure


SES # Topics Readings


Classification of Elements

Elemental Link Between Geosphere and Biosphere

Essential and Non-essential Elements with Reference to Human Health

Selection of Elements for Report and Presentation

Selinus, O., B. J. Alloway, J. A. Centeno, R. B. Finkelman, R. Fuge, U. Lindh, and P. Smedley, eds. Essentials of medical geology - Impacts of the natural environment on public health. Boston, MA: Elsevier Academic Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780126363418.

Komatina, M. Medical geology - Effects of Geological environments on Human Health. Boston, MA: Elsevier Science Publishing Co. 2004. ISBN: 9780444516152.

Chamley, H. Geosciences, Environment and Man. Boston, MA: Elsevier Science Publishing Co. 2003. ISBN: 9780444514257.

Keller, E. A. Introduction to environmental geology. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001. ISBN: 9780130338228. (CDROM 2002)

Buffetaut, E., and C. Koeberl, eds. Geological and biological effects of impact events. Berlin, NY: Springer, 2001. ISBN: 9783540422860.

Gunn, A. M. The impact of geology on the United States: A reference guide to benefits and hazards. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780313314445.

Maddy, D., M. G. Macklin, and J. C. Woodward, eds. River basin sediment systems: Archives of environmental change. USA: Taylor & Francis, 2001. ISBN: 9789058093424.

Martin, R. E. Environmental micropaleontology: The application of microfossils to environmental geology. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 2000. ISBN: 9780306462320.

Williams, R. J. P., and J. J. R. Frausto da Silva. The Natural Selection of the Chemical Elements. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780198558422.

Lag, J. Geomedicine. London, UK: Informa Healthcare, 1990. ISBN: 9780849367557.

Finkelman, Robert B. “Medical Geology: A 10,000 year old opportunity,” and “Other medical geology issues.” U.S. Geological Survey.

Centeno, J. “Trace elements in environmental health and human diseases.” U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

Bowman, C. A., P. T. Bobrowsky, and O. Selinus. “Medical Geology: New relevance in the earth sciences.” Episodes 26, no. 4 (2003): 270-278.

Lide, D. R., ed. “Periodic Table of The Elements.” In CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. 86th ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780849304866.

Periodic table of the elements (also available as a PDF)

Reading the periodic table


NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material)

TENORM (Technologically-Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material)


Foster, A. R., and R. L. Wright, Jr. Basic Nuclear Engineering. 4th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon Inc., 1983. ISBN: 9780205078868.

Eisenbud, M., and T. Gesell. Environmental radioactivity from natural, industrial, and military scources. 4th ed. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780122351549.

Potts, P. J. A handbook of silicate rock analysis. New York, NY: Blackie, Chapman and Hall, 1987. ISBN: 9780412008818. (U.S.A.)

Exposure of the population of the united states and Canada from natural background radiation, Report 94. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, Maryland.

The NORM Group Organization

TENORM Sources

TENORM Sources: Summary Table

Evaluation of EPA’s Guidelines for TENORM (PDF)

Spencer, J. E. “Hello ‘NORM.’” Arizona Geology 33, no. 2 (2003): 1-2.

Guidelines for naturally occurring radioactive materials. Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Canberra

Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in produced water and oil-field equipment; an issue for the energy industry. U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO, United States (U.S.A.). USGS, Publications of the U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet - U.S. Geological Survey, Report: FS 0142-99, September 1999, pp. 4.

Aamodt, J. “Naturally occurring radioactive materials; human health and regulation.” The Public Land and Resources Law Digest 36, no. 1 (1999): 11-52.

Chart of the Nuclides and Isotopes. 16th ed. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. Distributor: Lockheed Martin, 2002.

BEIR VI Series: Health effects of exposure to radon. Committee on Health Risks of Exposure to Radon. Board on Radiation Effects Research, Corp. Author: Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780309056458.

Risk assessment of radon in drinking water. Committee on the Risk Assessment of Exposure to Radon in Drinking Water, Board on Radiation Effects Research, Corp. Author: Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780309062923.

Nazaroff, W. W., and A. V. Nero. Radon and its decay products in indoor air. New York, NY: J. Wiley, 1988. ISBN: 9780471628101.

Farine, J. “Assay of Radon and Radium in Water: Techniques Developed at SNO.” Topical Workshop of Low Radioactivity Techniques, LRT2004, 12-14 December 2004. Vol. 785. New York: AIP Conference Proceedings, 2005.

Kovler, K. “Radon exhalation of hardening concrete: Monitoring cement hydration and prediction of radon concentration in construction site.” Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 86, no. 3 (2006): 354-366.

Rabi, J. A., and N. C. Da Silva. “Radon exhalation from phosphogypsum building boards: Symmetry constraints, impermeable boundary conditions and numerical simulation of a test case.” Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 86, no. 2 (2006): 164-175.

Kristof, J. W., A. Hanna, J. Hadjinicolaou. “Soil gases and building foundations.” International Journal for Housing Science and Its Applications 30, no. 1 (2005): 69-80. (SPEC. ISS.)

Leonard, B. “Radioisotope deposition on interior building surfaces: Air flow and surface roughness influences.” Nuclear Technology 152, no. 3, (December 2005): 339-353.

Tokonami, S., H. Takahashi, Y. Kobayashi, W. Zhuo, and E. Hulber. “Up-to-date radon-thoron discriminative detector for a large scale survey.” Review of Scientific Instruments 76, no. 11 (2005): 113505.

Nielson, K. K., R. B. Holt, and V. C. Rogers. “Site-specific characterization of soil Radon potentials [electronic resource]: project summary.” Cincinnati, OH: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, 1996. (PDF)


Overview of Analytical Techniques

MIT-EAPS Neutron Activation Analysis Laboratory - Hands on Experience

Knoll, G. F. Radiation detection and measurements. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1979. ISBN: 9780471495451.

Debertin, K., and R. G. Helmer. Gamma and X-ray spectrometry with semiconductor detectors. New York, NY: North Holland, 1988. ISBN: 9780444871077.

Jagam, P., and G. K. Muecke. “Instrumentation in neutron activation analysis.” Chapter IV in Mineralogical Association of Canada. Edited by G. K. Muecke. Short Course in Neutron Activation Analysis in the Geosciences. Halifax, CA, May 1980, pp. 73-108.

Potts, P. J. A handbook of silicate rock analysis. New York, NY: Blackie, Chapman and Hall, 1987. ISBN: 9780412008818. (U.S.A.)

Skoog, D. A., and D. M. West. Principles of Instrumental Analysis. Tokyo, Japan: Holt-Saunders, 1980. ISBN: 9780030211614.

Ila, P., and P. Jagam. “Multielement analysis of food spices by instrumental neutron activation analysis.” Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 57 (1980): 205-210.

Gazes, Jack, ed. Ewing’s analytical instrumentation handbook. 3rd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780824753481.

Dean, J. R. Practical inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005. ISBN: 9780470093498.

Lajunen, L. H. J., and P. Peramaki. Spectrochemical analysis by atomic absorption and emission. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2005. ISBN: 9780854046249.

Keisch, B. The atomic fingerprint: Neutron activation analysis. Honolulu, Hawaii: University Press of the Pacific, 2003. ISBN: 9781410206541.

Broekaert, J. A. C. Analytical atomic spectrometry with flames and plasmas . Weinheim, DE: Wiley-VCH, 2005. ISBN: 9783527312825.


Hydrogeology of As in Central Massachusetts

“Arsenic and pathways of selected trace elements in central Massachusetts.” Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 37, no. 7 (Salt Lake City Annual Meeting, October 16–19, 2005).


Dust Storms - Health Effects

Review and Conclusions

Student Presentations

Principles and methods for the assessment of risk from essential trace elements. World Health Organization, 2002.

Sandstrom, B. and P. Walter, eds. The Role of Trace Elements for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: Annual Meeting of the European Academy of Nutritional Sciences. Copenhagen, August 1996 - Proceedings. New York, NY: Karger, 1998. ISBN: 9783805566285.

Rose, J. Trace elements in health – A review of current issues. Boston, MA: Butterworths, 1983. ISBN: 9780407002555.

Finkelman, R. B. “Environmental health effects of toxic elements, metal ions, and minerals, Bob-Natural and Anthropogenic.” U.S. Geological Survey.

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2006
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples