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Uranium-Thorium Decay Series in the Oceans:Overview

Author(s): Loeff MMR

Abstract

Natural radioactivity provides tracers in a wide range of characteristic timescales and reactivities, which can be used as tools to study the rate of reaction and transport processes in the ocean. Apart from cosmogenic nuclides and the long-lived radioisotope K-40, the natural radioactivity in the ocean is primarily derived from the decay series of three radionuclides that were produced in the period of nucleosynthesis preceding the birth of our solar system: Uranium-238, Thorium-232, and Uranium-235 (a fourth series, including Uranium-233, has already decayed away).

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