Relationship of thorium, uranium isotopes and uranium isotopic ratios with physicochemical parameters in cenote water from the Yucatán Peninsula Article uri icon


  • Uranium (U) and Thorium (Th) concentrations are normally low in the water (<30 and 5 ng mL−1, respectively). However, we performed a direct analysis of 232Th, 234U, 235U and 238U in cenote water from the Yucatán Peninsula using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) as a rapid response technique to perform environmental radioactivity monitoring. Water samples were collected in 2021 from the cenotes and these were certificated by zones (PYNO, PYNE and PYSE) and monitoring depth [surface water (n = 52) and depth water (n = 48)]. Moreover, physicochemical parameters such as pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), and temperature were measured in situ. Results obtained were total U and Th levels below permissible for human consumption. However, physicochemical parameters must be considered before use because it is outside the permissible limits in most cenotes. The median concentration value for 234U, 235U, 238U and 232Th in surface %2b depth water were 0.0001 ng mL−1, 0.0130 ng mL−1, 1.76 ng mL−1, and 0.062 ng mL−1, respectively. In addition, isotopic ratio of 235U/238U in surface %2b depth water was 0.00730. In addition, the PYNO zone showed a correlation between 232Th with EC and TDS. The PYSE zone showed a correlation between 232Th and temperature, and 235U/234U with pH, while PYEN did not show correlations. In conclusion, the first time evaluated U isotope concentrations and isotopic ratios of U and 232Th in cenote water from the Yucatán Peninsula, where U and Th concentrations were found below the permissible limits mentioned by guidelines for drinking-water quality. The average of 235U/238U is similar to isotopic ratios in “natural” water. © 2022 Elsevier Ltd

publication date

  • 2022-01-01