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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Landscape and Watershed Processes

Assessment of Spatial Variation of Cesium-137 in Small Catchments


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 6, p. 1930-1939
    Received: May 21, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): m.vanderperk@geog.uu.nl
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  1. Marcel van der Perk *a,
  2. Ondrej Slávikb and
  3. Emil Fulajtárb
  1. a Utrecht Centre for Environment and Landscape Dynamics (UCEL), Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80115, 2508 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands
    b Soil Fertility Research Institute, Gagarinova 10, 82713 Bratislava, Slovakia


Surface contamination by bomb-derived and Chernobyl-derived 137Cs has been subject to changes due to physical decay and lateral transport of contaminated soil particles, which have resulted in an ongoing transfer of radionuclides from terrestrial ecosystems to surface water, river bed sediments, and flood plains. Knowledge of the different sources of spatial variation of 137Cs is particularly essential for estimating 137Cs transfer to fluvial systems and for successfully applying 137Cs as an environmental tracer in soil erosion studies. This study combined a straightforward sediment redistribution model and geostatistical interpolation of point samples of 137Cs activities in soil to distinguish the effects of sediment erosion and deposition from other sources of variation in 137Cs in the small Mochovce catchment in Slovakia. These other sources of variation could then be interpreted. Besides erosion and deposition processes, the initial pattern of 137Cs deposition, floodplain sedimentation, and short-range spatial variation were identified as the major sources of spatial variation of the 137Cs inventory.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1930–1939.