Natural and depleted uranium in the topsoil of Qatar: Is it something to worry about?

Basem Shomar, Mohamed Amr, Khalid Al-Saad, Yasir Mohieldeen

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines uranium in soils of Qatar to investigate whether there is any detectable traces of depleted uranium (DU). 409 soil samples were collected using a 10km grid system throughout the State of Qatar. The U concentrations and isotopic compositions (235U/238U) were determined using an ICP-MS. The U concentrations range from 0.05 to 4.7mg/kg and the 235U/238U isotopic signatures are in the range 0.007-0.008, i.e. comparable to the isotopic ratio in natural uranium (NU). The distribution of these concentrations in the topsoil were used to see correlations with locations of pollution point sources and environmentally hot areas associated with human activity: industrial estates, solid waste dumping sites, wastewater treatment plants, sea harbors, airports, and public transport network. New thematic maps were built using Geographic Information System (GIS) software. The results showed that there is no linkage between the occurrence, distribution, concentrations and isotopic ratios of U and these hotspots. More importantly, due to the low concentration of organic matter (OM) in soils of Qatar, very limited P-fertilization, the alkaline nature of soil (pH 8) and low Fe/Mn contents make soil uranium concentrations very low. The residential areas, including the capital Doha, had the lowest total concentrations of uranium and isotopic ratios of the country while the northern and western parts showed the highest values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-211
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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