Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

W.D. Gosnold Jr.


Current neutrino observatories operate underground to isolate the detector from cosmic rays and background radiation. However, background radiation from local sources has yet to be accounted for. Current models for neutrino contributions from terrestrial rocks are formulated from bulk compositional estimates of the whole Earth. To better understand local background radiation from geologic sources surfaces rocks were collected throughout the area surrounding the Homestake Mine, South Dakota, home of the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory. The surface rocks were analyzed for radioactivity and neutrino luminosity, producing heat maps indicating the levels of neutrino production throughout the area. The area around the Homestake Mine was found to be more luminous then upper crustal averages generated from current bulk silicate Earth models.

Included in

Geology Commons