Environmental Geology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 32–38 | Cite as

Radon emanation from giant landslides of Koefels (Tyrol, Austria) and Langtang Himal (Nepal)

  • F. Purtscheller
  • T. Pirchl
  • G. Sieder
  • V. Stingl
  • T. Tessadri
  • P. Brunner
  • O. Ennemoser
  • P. Schneider


The identification of extremely high indoor radon concentrations in the village Umhausen (Tyrol, Austria) initiated a scientific program to get information about the source and distribution of this noble gas. The high concentrations can not be related to U anomalies or large-scale fault zones. The nearby giant landslide of Koefels, with its highly fractured and crushed orthogneisses, are the only possible source of radon, despite the fact that the U and Ra content of the rocks is by no means exceptional. The reasons for the high emanation rates from the landslide are discussed and compared to results gained from a similar examination of the giant landslide of Langtang Himal (Nepal). The exceptional geologic situation in both cases, as well as the spatial distribution of different concentration levels, indicate that both landslides must be considered as the production sites of radon. Independent of the U and Ra contents of the rocks, the most important factors producing high emanation rates are the production of a high active surface area and circulation pathways for Rn-enriched soil air by brittle deformation due to the impact of the landslidemass.

Key words

Radon Geochemistry Landslides Brittle deformation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Purtscheller
    • 1
  • T. Pirchl
    • 1
  • G. Sieder
    • 1
  • V. Stingl
    • 2
  • T. Tessadri
    • 1
  • P. Brunner
    • 3
  • O. Ennemoser
    • 4
  • P. Schneider
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für Mineralogie & PetrographieUniversität InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Institut für Geologie & PaläontologieUniversität InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  3. 3.Institut für Analytische Chemie & RadiochemieUniversität InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  4. 4.Institut für Medizinische PhysikUniversität InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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