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Regional Calibration of Erosion Radiotracers (210Pb and 137Cs):  Atmospheric Fluxes to Soils (Northern Spain)

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journal contribution
posted on 15.02.2007, 00:00 by Joan-Albert Sanchez-Cabeza, Marta Garcia-Talavera, Eduard Costa, Victor Peña, Jordi Garcia-Orellana, Pere Masqué, Constantino Nalda
Inventories of radionuclides commonly used to study environmental processes, especially in erosion research, were determined in soil cores from two distant river basins in northern Spain. Results showed that 210Pb atmospheric fluxes correlate very well with mean annual rainfall across the region, and this is also the case for 137Cs inventories but only on the basin scale. Therefore we suggest that 210Pb is a better candidate as a radiotracer for soil erosion studies. In this region, the equation 210Pb flux (Bq m-2 yr-1) = (0.19 ± 0.02) × rainfall (mm yr-1) − (24 ± 17) can be used as a calibration to estimate input 210Pb fluxes, a key parameter in soil erosion studies and models, when mean annual rainfall is known.