Pb-210(xs.) is a viable alternative to Cs-137 for tracing soil redistribution in mountain pastures affected by heterogeneous Chernobyl fallout

Baccolo, Giovanni and Khair, Davide Abu El and Nastasi, Massimiliano and Sisti, Monica and Ferrè, Chiara and Alewell, Christine and Comolli, Roberto. (2022) Pb-210(xs.) is a viable alternative to Cs-137 for tracing soil redistribution in mountain pastures affected by heterogeneous Chernobyl fallout. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. pp. 1-13.

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Soil mobilization has been investigated by means of fallout radionuclides (FRN) in a first-order catchment of the Eastern Alps. Caesium-137, Pb-210(xs.) (Pb-210 excess or unsupported fraction), and Am-241 have been measured in soil samples collected from a pasture at about 2150 m above sea level. Combining pedological and radioactivity data, including mineral-related radionuclides (primordial K-40 and nuclides belonging to the Th-232 and U-238 decay chains), the distribution of FRNs, their spatial variability, vertical distribution, and relationships with pedological and topographical variables were assessed. Because of low activity concentration, it was not possible to use artificial long-lived Am-241 as a soil tracer, but preliminary results are encouraging. Inventories of Pb-210(xs.) and Cs-137 have been converted into soil mobilization rates applying the MODERN model. Despite the gentle steepness and the absence of evident signs of erosion, the slopes of the considered catchment are affected by erosion at a rate up to 6 t ha(-1) yr(-1), likely related to grazing. A comparison between Pb-210(xs.) and Cs-137 has revealed that at this site Cs-137, the most used FRN for estimating soil redistribution, is not suitable for this purpose, probably due to its irregular spatial distribution on snow-covered ground after the Chernobyl accident. Conversely, Pb-210(xs.), owing to its continuous input, has provided reliable estimates of soil redistribution rates, in accordance with local morphology. The latter has in fact been related to morphometric variables in a regression model to provide an overview of soil erosion/sedimentation across the entire catchment, confirming that Pb-210(xs.) is a viable alternative to trace soil erosion and deposition where the Chernobyl fallout occurred on snow-covered ground.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften (Alewell)
UniBasel Contributors:Alewell, Christine
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:02 Feb 2023 10:50
Deposited On:02 Feb 2023 10:50

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