The concentrations of natural radionuclides in surface soils around Adana, Turkey were determined using gamma ray spectrometry with an HPGe detector. The natural gamma ray radioactivity of the terrestrial radionuclides in air was calculated throughout different areas of Adana. The average activity concentrations of U-238, Th-232 and K-40 were found to be 17.6, 2 1.1 and 297.5 Bq kg(-1), respectively. Outdoor gamma dose measurements in air I m above ground level were determined by using a portable gamma scintillation detector. The gamma dose measurements in air were taken from the same places where soil samples were taken. Average outdoor gamma dose rates in sample stations were determined as 67 nGy h(-1). The annual effective dose to the public was found to be 82 mu Sv. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.