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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2018-46
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Jun 2018

Research article | 08 Jun 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

The effect of rock composition on muon tomography measurements

Alessandro Lechmann1, David Mair1, Akitaka Ariga2, Tomoko Ariga3, Antonio Ereditato2, Ryuichi Nishiyama2, Ciro Pistillo2, Paola Scampoli2,4, Fritz Schlunegger1, and Mykhailo Vladymyrov2 Alessandro Lechmann et al.
  • 1Institute of Geological Sciences , University of Bern, Bern, 3012, Switzerland
  • 2Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics, Laboratory for High Energy Physics, University of Bern, Bern, 3012, Switzerland
  • 3Faculty of Arts and Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka , 812-8582, Japan
  • 4Dipartimento di Fisica "E.Pancini", Universit√† di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, 80126, Italy

Abstract. In recent years, the use of radiographic inspection with cosmic-ray muons has spread into multiple research and industrial fields. This technique is based on the high-penetration power of cosmogenic muons. Specifically, it allows the resolution of internal density structures of large scale, geological objects through precise measurement of the muon absorption rate. So far in many previous works, this muon absorption rate has been considered to depend solely on the density of traversed material (under the assumption of a standard rock) but the variation in chemical composition has not been taken seriously into account. However, from our experience with muon tomography in Alpine environments we find that this assumption causes a substantial bias on the muon flux calculation, particularly where the target consists of high {Z2/A} (like basalts) or low {Z2/A} (e.g. dolomites) rocks and where the material thickness exceeds 300m. In this paper we derive an energy loss equation for different minerals and we additionally derive a related equation for mineral assemblages that can be used for any rock type on which mineralogical data is available. Thus, for muon tomography experiments in which high/low {Z2/A} rock thicknesses can be expected, it is advisable to plan an accompanying geological field campaign to determine a realistic rock model.

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