SEGH Articles

Geochemistry for Sustainable development: Victoria Falls, Zambia

04 March 2018
Abstracts are now due for 9th March if you would like to be considered for an oral presentation. Please do hurry and submit your abstracts.

34th SEGH International Conference on Geochemistry for Sustainable development

Avani Victoria Falls Resort, Livingstone Zambia 2-7th July 2018.

Abstracts are now due for 9th March if you would like to be considered for an oral presentation.  Please do hurry and submit your abstracts, don't wait until after the deadline!  Consideration for oral and poster presentations will be undertaken by the scientific committee 12-16th March.  However, we will consider poster abstracts until April 13th.

Please view the conference website for details

Preparations for the conference are well underway, some of which were described in the last web article in November SEGH november article. You can find information regarding travel arrangements, accommodation, social events and suggestions for independent activities in the vicinity of Victoria Falls on

We have formulated a comprehensive social programme including the ice-breaker-registration, two poster evenings, each with drinks, food and music and the conference dinner (Boma) which will be held on the banks of the Zambezi in site of the edge of Victoria Falls. A braai (barbecue) will be provided at the Boma along with entertainment including traditional dancing and music. These activities are included within the registration fee with support from sponsors.  So far we have Agilent Technologies, Trace2O-Wagtech and Chemetrix signed up as official sponsors, with others in the process of signing up.


As a reminder, the key themes of the conference are:

Theme 1. Industrial and Urban Development

Theme 2. Agriculture

Theme 3. Health

Theme 4. Technologies

More information around these themes can be found on the conference webpage.


You will find additional information about the conference venue, location, how to get to Livingstone, surrounding town and opportunities for experiencing the natural wonder of Victoria Falls.  In addition, we have posted some information on suggestions for local accommodation for a range of budgets to which we will keep you updated as we confirm discounts with local accommodation via: , twitter on @SocEGH, @segh2018, updates and member emails.  If you have not already viewed the conference website, you will find information for registration and submission of abstracts.  Delegate payments will be handled in two ways.  Zambian nationals and sponsors to pay via the Zambian online shop, international delegates and sponsors to pay via the International online shop which will connect to the SEGH secure payment function using SagePay. Bank transfers can be made on request.

July 3-5th will comprise of conference presentations, whilst the 6th July will be offered to delegates as a free training day.  Details are shown on the conference website, please feel free to suggest other ideas or volunteer to run small working groups. On the 7th July will be a field trip to visit an African cultural centre, Agricultural research station and finish with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi.  We just ask for a contribution to the lunch on the fieldtrip and payment for the cruise, which includes a buffet and drinks.

Training day – tutorials are planned for the 6th July free of charge. Tutorials will include:

Epidemiology & health statistics – Dr Valerie McCormack from the International Agency for Research on Cancer-WHO will lead on a tutorial for epidemiology and health statistics (2 hours).  Dr Alex Stewart (retired) Public Health England will provide a following tutorial on the use of environmental and public health datasets (1 hour).

Stable Isotope tracers – Dr Andi Smith, British Geological Survey (1 hour)

Laboratory Quality Assurance – Dr Michael Watts & Mr Elliott Hamilton, British Geological Survey (1 hour)

Introduction to QGIS (freeware) – Dr Daniel Middleton IARC-WHO & Dr Louise Ander British Geological Survey (3 hours)

Introduction to the R platform for statistics - Professor Murray Lark, University of Nottingham/British Geological Survey (3 hours)


We look forward to seeing you beside the Victoria Falls known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, in Livingstone, Zambia.

By Michael Watts, Moola Mutondo, Kenneth Maseka and Godfrey Sakala

Chair of organising committee

Prof. Kenneth Maseka, Copperbelt University

Organising committee

Dr Michael Watts, British Geological Survey

Dr Moola Mutondo, Copperbelt University

Dr Godfrey Sakala, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute


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Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Geochemistry of uranium and thorium in phosphate deposits at the Syrian coastal area (Al-Haffah and Al-Qaradaha) and their environmental impacts 2019-03-16


    The aim of this research was to study the geochemistry of uranium and thorium in phosphate deposits in the upper Cretaceous phosphate deposits in the Syrian coastal area. The study covered three sites, namely Ain Al-Tenah, Ain Laylon, and Al-Mhalbeh. Petrographical study showed that phosphate deposits are of nodular type with micrit to microspaite cement, containing siliceous bone residues, and green grains of glauconite, which are increasing in abundance and volume in the south toward Al-Mhalbeh, reflecting the formation of phosphate in a shallow marine environment. In addition, uranium concentration varied between 3 and 112 ppm in Ain Laylon, 4.2–17 ppm in Ain Al-Tenah and 5–61 ppm in Al-Mhalbeh. Thorium concentration varied between 0.2 and 7.5 ppm in Ain Laylon, 0.3–1.4 ppm in Ain Al-Tenah and 0.3–4.4 ppm in Al-Mhalbeh. The average Th/U ratio in the collected samples was within the range 0.04–0.08 except for five samples which exceeded the value 0.1. Moreover, the 226Ra/238U ratios are lower than unity in all samples, while the 210Pb/238U ratios ranged between 0.4 and 1.2 and the 210Pb/226Ra ratios were found to be higher than unity. On the other hand, the impact of leaching and mobility of uranium and thorium from deposits to the surrounding agriculture fields in the area has been studied using the Radium Equivalent Activity Index (Raeq). The equivalent radium activity was 102 Bq kg−1 in Ain Al-Tenah, 403 Bq kg−1 in Ain Laylon, 407 Bq kg−1 in Al-Mhalbeh and 749 Bq kg−1 in agricultural soil samples. However, the data reported in this study can be considered as a baseline data for the phosphate deposits at the coastal area.

  • Measurement of radon, thoron and their daughters in the air of marble factories and resulting alpha-radiation doses to the lung of workers 2019-03-15


    Concentrations of radon (222Rn) and thoron (220Rn) were measured in the air of different marble factories by using a nuclear track technique. The influence of the marble dust nature and ventilation on radon and thoron concentrations was investigated. It was observed that measured radon and thoron concentration ranged from 310 to 903 Bq m−3 and 6 to 48 Bq m−3, respectively. In addition, alpha-activities due to the unattached and attached fractions of 218Po and 214Po radon short-lived progeny were evaluated in the marble factories studied. Committed equivalent doses due to the attached and unattached fractions of 218Po and 214Po nuclei were evaluated in the lung tissues of marble factory workers. The dependence of the resulting committed equivalent dose on the concentration of the attached and unattached fractions of the 218Po and 214Po radionuclides and mass of the tissue was investigated. The resulting annual committed effective doses to the lung of marble factory workers due to the attached and unattached fractions of the 218Po and 214Po radionuclides were calculated. The obtained results show that about 80% of the global committed effective doses received by workers in the studied marble factories are due to the attached fraction of the 218Po and 214Po radon short-lived daughters from the inhalation of polluted air. Male workers spending 8 h per day (2080 h per year) in a marble factory receive a maximum dose of 34.46 mSv y−1 which is higher than the (3–10 mSv y−1) dose limit interval given by the ICRP. Good agreement was found between data obtained for the average effective dose gotten by using this method and the UNSCEAR and ICRP conversion dose coefficients.

  • Quantitative health risk assessment of inhalation exposure to automobile foundry dust 2019-03-14


    With a growing awareness of environmental protection, the dust pollution caused by automobile foundry work has become a serious and urgent problem. This study aimed to explore contamination levels and health effects of automobile foundry dust. A total of 276 dust samples from six types of work in an automobile foundry factory were collected and analysed using the filter membrane method. Probabilistic risk assessment model was developed for evaluating the health risk of foundry dust on workers. The health risk and its influencing factors among workers were then assessed by applying the Monte Carlo method to identify the most significant parameters. Health damage assessment was conducted to translate health risk into disability-adjusted life year (DALY). The results revealed that the mean concentration of dust on six types of work ranged from 1.67 to 5.40 mg/m3. The highest health risks to be come from melting, cast shakeout and finishing, followed by pouring, sand preparation, moulding and core-making. The probability of the risk exceeding 10−6 was approximately 85%, 90%, 90%, 75%, 70% and 45%, respectively. The sensitivity analysis indicated that average time, exposure duration, inhalation rate and dust concentration (C) made great contribution to dust health risk. Workers exposed to cast shakeout and finishing had the largest DALY of 48.64a. These results can further help managers to fully understand the dust risks on various types of work in the automobile foundry factories and provide scientific basis for the management and decision-making related to health damage assessment.