The effect of CO2 on the measurement of 220Rn and 222Rn with instruments utilising electrostatic precipitation
In some volcanic systems, thoron and radon activity and CO2 flux, in soil and fumaroles, show a relationship between (220Rn/222Rn) and CO2 efflux. It is theorized that deep, magmatic sources of gas are characterized by high 222Rn activity and high CO2 efflux, whereas shallow sources are indicated by high 220Rn activity and relatively low CO2 efflux.
In this paper we evaluate whether the observed inverse relationship is a true geochemical signal, or potentially an analytical artifact of high CO2 concentrations. We report results from a laboratory experiment using the RAD7 radon detector, known 222Rn (radon) and 220Rn (thoron), and a controllable percentage of CO2 in the carrier gas. Our results show that for every percentage of CO2, the 220Rn reading should be multiplied by 1.019, the 222Rn radon should be multiplied by 1.003 and the 220Rn/222Rn ratio should be multiplied by 1.016 to correct for the presence of the CO2.