September 1, 2018
Journal Article

Comparison of measured and simulated concentrations of 133Xe in the shallow subsurface


Radioactive isotopes of the noble gases xenon and argon are considered primary indicators of an underground nuclear explosion. However, high atmospheric concentrations from other anthropogenic sources may lead to an elevation in the underground levels of these gases, particularly in times of increasing atmospheric pressure. In 2014, a week long sampling campaign near Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in the Ottawa River Valley resulted in first of their kind measurements of atmospheric 133Xe that had been pressed into the subsurface. In an effort to better understand this imprinting process, a second follow-up sampling campaign was conducted in the same location in 2016. The results of the second sampling campaign, where samples were collected at depths of 1 and 2 meters over a 14 day period and measured for their 133Xe concentration, are presented here. Gas transport and sample concentrations were predicted using the Subsurface Transport over Multiple Phases (STOMP) simulator. These results are examined and compared to the corresponding experimental results.

Revised: November 11, 2020 | Published: September 1, 2018


Johnson C.M., S.R. Biegalski, J.D. Lowrey, M.L. Rockhold, and D.A. Haas. 2018. Comparison of measured and simulated concentrations of 133Xe in the shallow subsurface. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 189. PNNL-SA-132618. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2018.04.010