Compton suppression gamma-spectroscopy provides an efficient method for measuring the concentration of226Ra,228Ra, and210Pb in ocean sediments. The background reduction realized from the suppressed mode of operation provides an “active shield”
to allow for the low-level counting required for these measurements. We have used the method to study the possible accumulation
of radium from produced waters in sediments from Gulf of Mexico sites of varied distances from drill platforms. In addition,210Pb levels were determined to evaluate the use of our spectrometer for this purpose. Baseline undisturbed concentrations have
been obtained from the study of subsurface core material which predates drilling activities. Correlations of radium isotope
concentrations with iron and barium provide information concerning the possible relationships between radium levels and drilling
activity (excess barium) and natural variations in sediment texture (iron).