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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 7 No. 2, p. 171-174
    Received: June 1, 1977

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Erosional Transport and Deposition of Plutonium and Cesium in Two Small Midwestern Watersheds1

  1. Robert N. Muller,
  2. Douglas G. Sprugel and
  3. Barbara Kohn2



The soils and sediments of two small watersheds and their retaining ponds were sampled in a study of the erosional transport of plutonium and cesium in midwestern ecosystems. In a watershed which had been used exclusively for row crops no relationship was observed between plutonium content of the sediments and location in the pond or clay content. In a pasture watershed sorting of the eroded material had occurred prior to entry into the pond and also within the pond. Clay content in the pasture pond sediments was significantly higher than in the soils of the surrounding watershed and increased with increasing distance from the inlet. Plutonium concentration in the sediments was strongly correlated with clay content, reflecting the higher plutonium content of finer soil particles. Cesium behaved similarly to plutonium in the soils and sediments of both watersheds. Where sorting occurs, as in the pasture watershed, deposits of fine sediments will contain higher plutonium and cesium concentrations than in the original surface soil.

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