The effect of rock composition on muon tomography measurements

Lechmann, Alessandro; Mair, David; Ariga, Akitaka; Ariga, Tomoko; Ereditato, Antonio; Nishiyama, Ryuichi; Pistillo, Ciro; Scampoli, Paola; Schlunegger, Fritz; Vladymyrov, Mykhailo

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 measurements 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 in the muon flux calculation, particularly where the target consists of high {Z2∕A} rocks (like basalts and limestones) and where the material thickness exceeds 300 m. 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 are available. Thus, for muon tomography experiments in which high {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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Lechmann, Alessandro / Mair, David / Ariga, Akitaka / et al: The effect of rock composition on muon tomography measurements. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Alessandro Lechmann et al.

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