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Radiation-induced Defects in Nonradioactive Natural Minerals: Mineralogical and Environmental Significance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2011

Georges Calas
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Minéralogie-Cristallographie, UMR CNRS 7590, Universités Paris 6 et 7 and IPGP, Campus Boucicaut, Case 115, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
Thierry Allard
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Minéralogie-Cristallographie, UMR CNRS 7590, Universités Paris 6 et 7 and IPGP, Campus Boucicaut, Case 115, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
Etienne Balan
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Minéralogie-Cristallographie, UMR CNRS 7590, Universités Paris 6 et 7 and IPGP, Campus Boucicaut, Case 115, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
Guillaume Morin
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Minéralogie-Cristallographie, UMR CNRS 7590, Universités Paris 6 et 7 and IPGP, Campus Boucicaut, Case 115, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
Stéphanie Sorieul
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Minéralogie-Cristallographie, UMR CNRS 7590, Universités Paris 6 et 7 and IPGP, Campus Boucicaut, Case 115, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France
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Abstract

Natural short-lived radionuclides generate electronic defects in minerals, such as trapped electrons and positive holes, often associated with element impurities, which act as final traps over geological periods. Two main examples will be illustrated. The first example will concern the point defects, which are observed in clay minerals. The high specific surface area makes clay minerals sensitive to the geochemical radiation background and provides a record of the past occurrence of radionuclides in geological systems. In kaolinite, three types of hole-centers are trapped by oxygen atoms linked to Si- or Al-sites. An experimental dosimetry gives the paleodose, which can be used either to assess mean past U-concentration or for kaolinite dating, depending on the available geochemical parameters. The detection of past migrations of radioelements in natural analogues may be used in the safety assessment of radioactive waste disposals. The second example will concern the role of mineral impurities in defect formation and stabilization. Natural fluorites (CaF2) exhibit hole-and electron-centers trapped on several rare earths and oxygen impurities, often present at the ppm level, which are responsible for the wide range of coloration observed in natural fluorites. Ca colloids may form under severe irradiation and give rise to a characteristic absorption. The thermal stability of radiation-induced defects gives constraints on the evolution of fluorites as a function of temperature and time. Other minerals, such as apatite, confirm the importance of impurities in stabilizing radiation-induced defects over geological periods.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2004

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