Thorium - 232

Thorium is a naturally-occurring, radioactive metal. Small amounts of thorium are present in all rocks, soil, above-ground and underground water, plants, and animals. These small amounts of thorium contribute to the weak background radiation for such substances. Soil commonly contains an average of about 6 parts of thorium per million parts (ppm) of soil. Rocks in some underground mines may also contain thorium in a more concentrated form. After these rocks are mined, thorium is usually concentrated and changed into thorium dioxide or other chemical forms. Thorium-bearing rock that has had most of the thorium removed from it is called "depleted" ore or tailings.
More than 99% of natural thorium exists in the form (isotope) thorium-232. Besides this natural thorium isotope, there are more than 10 other different isotopes that can be artificially produced. In the environment, thorium-232 exists in various combinations with other minerals, such as silica. Most thorium compounds commonly found in the environment do not dissolve easily in water and do not evaporate from soil or water into the air.