Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Human Toxicology

First Advisor

Michael K. Schultz

First Committee Member

Tori Z Forbes

Second Committee Member

R. William Field

Third Committee Member

Michael D Wichman

Fourth Committee Member

Adam S Ward


As unconventional drilling has emerged as a major industry in the US and around the world, many environmental health and pollution risks have surfaced. One emerging concern is the risk of environmental contamination arising from unconventional wastes that are enriched in naturally-occurring radioactive materials (NORM). Although NORM has been a well-documented contaminant of oil and gas wastes for decades, there are new challenges associated with unconventional drilling. This thesis discusses several of these challenges, focusing on NORM from black shale formations. Chapter 1 provides background information on environmental radioactivity and unconventional drilling. Chapter 2 describes the potential for NORM to migrate into groundwater around unconventional drilling operations. Chapters 3 and 4 describe radiochemical methods developed for the analysis of Marcellus Shale unconventional drilling wastes. Chapter 5 describes environmental partitioning of Marcellus Shale unconventional drilling wastes. Collectively, this thesis attempts to broaden the scientific understanding of NORM in unconventional drilling wastes so that potential environmental impacts may be mitigated.


Hydraulic Fracturing, NORM, Polonium, Radiochemistry, Radium, Unconventional Drilling


xvii, 157 pages


Includes bibliographical references.


Copyright © 2016 Andrew Wyatt Nelson

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Toxicology Commons