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Radiation findings from Southern California

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Radiation findings from Southern California

Note: Due to the fact that I have never been to Southern California, I was unable to compare my findings to previous baseline data. Data obtained from other GM devices via RadiationNetwork.com was used to compare my results for normality. It must be stressed that my tests were limited in scope to a small area and a short five days of tests. Primarily, I was checking for gamma, a common result of isometric adjustment of atoms, including those who primarly produce alpha and beta radiation.


The Raw Radiation DataFor Raw Data Click Here

The Trip

 I traveled to sunny southern California this week on business but I didn’t forget my trusty Geiger Counter. As you might have noticed, I am a little sensitive about my Geiger Counter and didn’t know how the TSA would react to me bringing my toy on the airplane. Following advice I received from the TSA (I called them on the phone) I placed the Geiger Counter in the open where they could see it. This seemed to satisfy them. I found that I was kept so busy with work that I could not explore the countryside testing the plants and ground, as I had wished. Luckily, my Geiger Counter was able to run continuously during that time.

Normal Readings

 Upon entering my hotel room I quickly setup my systems and Geiger Counter to start reading. From Monday night until Friday morning I ran my Geiger Counter nearly continuously. From Monday, May 16, 2011 until Friday morning May 20, 2011 I logged a total of 3344 minutes of data. During this time I averaged 16 Counts Per Minute (herein CPM) greater than 90% of the time. 16 CPM is an ipso facto norm given the many months of data found on RadiationNetwork.com which show similar readings for similar elevations, in my case being approximately 400 feet above sea level.

Southern California Radiation Graph

Southern California Radiation Graph

Unexplained Spikes

 I did note many interesting, but small, spikes during my stay. Most of these “spikes” were quite innocent in appearance, never exceeding double background. I do not normally see such spikes where I am used to checking, but the very shape of the Earth’s magnetic lines of force allows some places to experience interesting attenuation of radiation. I cannot rule out periodic and local terrestrial sources, given the nature of the area in where the tests were performed, e.g. a metastable radionuclide issuing gamma from a distance, occasionally bathing my tube.

Count Date Time CPM Total Avg Lat Long Alt
53 5/18/11 11:56 PM 17 877 16 32.816835 117.051022 449ft
54 5/18/11 11:57 PM 14 891 16 32.816835 117.051022 449ft
55 5/18/11 11:58 PM 29 920 16 32.816835 117.051022 449ft
56 5/18/11 11:59 PM 17 937 16 32.816835 117.051022 449ft
Count Date Time CPM Total Avg Lat Long Alt

1,619 5/20/11 05:30 AM 15 26,115 16 32.816835 117.051022 449ft
1,620 5/20/11 05:31 AM 26 26,141 16 32.816835 117.051022 449ft
1,621 5/20/11 05:32 AM 31 26,172 16 32.816835 117.051022 449ft
1,622 5/20/11 05:33 AM 9 26,181 16 32.816835 117.051022 449ft

As you can easily see, these spikes are perhaps happenstance of the naturally random nature of radiation and not sufficient to suggest anything more than mere interest.

Air Tests

 During my time in California I did take a moment to run my testing equipment in the outside air and away from stone or other radioactive items. I tested the outside porch of my hotel room and found no prominent emitters. Given a lack of power and resources, I had to run the outside scan for a short time. The results were actually slightly lower than in the room, though a rain storm had just pasted and the area was still quite damp from pacific rain.

Southern California 5-18-11 Air Test

Southern California 5-18-11 Air Test

Lessons Learned

 My next trek will include additional equipment, such as a 3” Geiger Pancake tube for higher sensitivity, contact contamination swipe tests, rock and dirt samples, rain samples, and an extension cord.