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A preliminary assessment of the potential for using caesium-137 to estimate rates of soil erosion in the Loess Plateau of China



A preliminary assessment of the potential for using caesium-137 to estimate rates of soil erosion in the Loess Plateau of China



Hydrological Sciences Journal 35(3): 243-252



The potential for using the radionuclide caesium-137 as an environmental tracer to indicate sources of soil erosion in the Chinese Loess Plateau is introduced. The caesium-137 contents of soil profiles have been used to estimate soil erosion losses from different topographic and land use conditions at Lishi, Shanxi Province, and Luochuan, Shaanxi Province. At uncultivated sites the caesium-137 was accumulated in the upper soil profile, while it has been mixed within the plough layer of cultivated sols. Eroded soils contain relatively less caesium-137, and simple calibration techniques are applied to quantify soil loss. Preliminary results suggest that caesium-137 may be of considerable value in assembling data on the rates and spatial distribution of soil loss and in identifying the source areas of eroded sediment.

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Accession: 001740841

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DOI: 10.1080/02626669009492427


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