Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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natural gamma ray spectroscopy

1. n. [Formation Evaluation]
The technique of measuring the spectrum, or number and energy, of gamma rays emitted as natural radioactivity by the formation. There are three sources of natural radioactivity in the Earth: 40K, 232Th and 238U, or potassium, thorium and uranium. These radioactive isotopes emit gamma rays that have characteristic energy levels. The quantity and energy of these gamma rays can be measured in a scintillation detector. A log of natural gamma ray spectroscopy is usually presented as a total gamma ray log and the weight fraction of potassium (%), thorium (ppm) and uranium (ppm). The primary standards for the weight fractions are formations with known quantities of the three isotopes. Natural gamma ray spectroscopy logs were introduced in the early 1970s, although they had been studied from the 1950s.