Radon Levels in Caves from San Salvador, the Bahamas: A Reconnaissance Survey

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Radon concentration, CR 39 detectors, Cave, Health risk, San Salvador, Bahamas

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Human health risks from radon exposure in Bahamian caves are undocumented. This study presents the results of radon (Rn-222) levels in six karst caves from San Salvador Island, the Bahamas. Although the caves are not promoted by tourism, they are frequently visited by groups of students and scientists during field classes and various research activities. Radon measurements were conducted using CR-39 solid-state alpha track detectors deployed at geomorphologically different locations within each cave. The highest radon level (3290 Bq m−3) was measured at the bottom of Firepole Shaft (8.7 m in depth). The study demonstrates that there is a general trend of accumulation further and deeper into the caves, for reasons associated with their topography and underground topoclimate conditions. Based on the results obtained, visitors are advised to spend minimal time in the lower portion of the two vertical caves (Owl’s Hole and Firepole) and in the inner part of the Crescent Top Cave, where elevated radon concentrations were recorded.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Carbonates and Evaporites, v. 31, issue 2, p. 153-161