A Novel Assessment of the Surface Heat Flux Role in Radon (Rn-222) Gas Flow within Subsurface Geological Porous Media

Ayelet Benkovitz, Hovav Zafrir, Yuval Reuveni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


At present, Rn subsurface flow can be described only by diffusion and advection transportation models within porous media that currently exist. Even though the temperature is a strong driving force in climate and gas thermodynamics, the impact of the surface heating is missing from all gas flow models within geological porous media. In this work, it is shown that heating the ground surface by the sun, every day up to a maximum temperature at noon, creates a downward vertical temperature gradient related to the constant temperature in the upper shallow layer whose measured thickness is several meters. Undersurface, the Rn gas in the porous media is propelled in nonlinear dependency by the surface temperature gradient to flow downward, up to a measured depth of 100 m, revealing a daily periodicity with time delay depending on depth, similar to the diurnal cycle of the surface temperature. Moreover, regression analysis applied with the data implies a non-linear relationship between Rn and the temporal surface temperature. The relationship is non-linear and the best fit for it from a thermodynamic point of view is an exponential dependency. From now on, it will be possible according to the model to predict and extract, if required, by the time series of the surface-measured parameters (the ambient temperature and pressure), the semi-diurnal, diurnal, multiday, and seasonal Rn temporal variation at a shallow depth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4094
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • radon cyclical signals undulate by ambient meteorological parameters
  • radon exponential correlation to daily climatic surface temperature
  • radon thermal flow in geological porous media


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