Muon Radiography of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania

Varvara Budetti

Abstract


The muon flux from cosmic ray interactions in the upper atmosphere is well understood theoretically and provides a fairly steady source of down going muons. The ways in which muons interact with matter such as water, rock and metal have interesting applications. Particular to this project is muon radiography which uses the muon attenuation rate in matter as a way of determining the composition and amount of material in the muon's path. A low cost cosmic ray detector that use plastic scintillators was built from scratch with designs from the Quarknet collaboration. Plans are now under way to use the muon flux attenuation rate measured by the detector to study the internal structre of hills and mountains in the Pocono region of Northeast PA. Various rocks and minerals consistent with the geology will first be used to gauge the flux attentuation rate when exposed to the atmospheric muon flux from a variety of zenith angles. We anticipate that the attenuation rate is related not only to the composition of the material that the muons are traveling through but also to the zenith angle since the flux at larger angles is composed of a greater proportion of higher energy, deeper penetrating muons. These measured relationships will then be used to examine the internal structure of hills and mountains in the Pocono region with the goal of identifying caverns and areas of abnormally high density or unusual composition.

Keywords


Muon; Cosmic Ray; Matter Effects

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