The effect of rock composition on muon tomography measurements

Lechmann, Alessandro; Mair, David; Ariga, Akitaka; Ariga, Tomoko; Ereditato, Antonio; Nishiyama, Ryuichi; Pistillo, Ciro; Scampoli, Paola; Schlunegger, Fritz; Vladymyrov, Mykhailo (2018). The effect of rock composition on muon tomography measurements. Solid Earth, 9(6), pp. 1517-1533. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/se-9-1517-2018

Lechmann_et_al.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (3MB) | Preview
Lechmann_et_al_supplment.pdf - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (1MB) | Preview

In recent years, the use of radiographic inspec- tion with cosmic-ray muons has spread into multiple research and industrial fields. This technique is based on the high- penetration power of cosmogenic muons. Specifically, it al- lows the resolution of internal density structures of large- scale geological objects through precise measurements of the muon absorption rate. So far, in many previous works, this muon absorption rate has been considered to depend solely on the density of traversed material (under the assumption of a standard rock) but the variation in chemical composition has not been taken seriously into account. However, from our experience with muon tomography in Alpine environments, we find that this assumption causes a substantial bias in the muon flux calculation, particularly where the target consists of high {Z²/A} rocks (like basalts and limestones) and where the material thickness exceeds 300 m. In this paper, we derive an energy loss equation for different minerals and we addi- tionally derive a related equation for mineral assemblages that can be used for any rock type on which mineralogical data are available. Thus, for muon tomography experiments in which high {Z²/A} rock thicknesses can be expected, it is advisable to plan an accompanying geological field cam- paign to determine a realistic rock model.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics (AEC)
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Laboratory for High Energy Physics (LHEP)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Mair, David, Ariga, Akitaka, Schlunegger, Fritz


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Copernicus Publications




Fritz Schlunegger

Date Deposited:

08 Feb 2019 10:38

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:23

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback