Regional specificity of radionuclide fixation in river basins due to soil petrology and mineralogy
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The main goal of this research was to compare and reveal the difference in the character of Cs-137 distribution and fixation in fine fractions of alluvial soils formed by the rivers draining areas of different geochemical origin with the corresponding mineral composition of clay fraction and to discuss the results in light of possible ecological perspectives.
Materials and methods
Alluvial soil samples were collected in the Yenisey (Central Siberia) and Iput (the East European Plain) river basin areas contaminated by 137Cs. Granulometric fine fractions (>0.01, 0.01–0.005, 0.005–0.001, <0,001 mm) were obtained by pipette technique; clay minerals were determined by a universal Carl-Zeiss Jena X-ray diffractometer (Germany); and 137Cs activity was measured by a CANBERRA gamma spectrometer with HPGe detector (USA).
Results and discussion
Clay mineralogy demonstrated regional specificity of its composition due to different origins of the soil-forming rocks. Clay fraction of alluvial soil samples collected in the Yenisey river floodplain consists mainly of chlorite-vermiculite and chlorite-smectite interstratifications while in the Iput river basin it is mainly composed of hydromicas and mica-smectite interstratifications. We infer that this may result in a higher potential ability of clay fraction for the radionuclide exchange and release in the former region.
Specificity of local clay minerals as radionuclide sorbents should be of particular ecological concern in relation to long-term exchange processes and involvement of the radioisotope in local biogeochemical cycles including its transfer to food chains. The phenomenon is considered in light of the developed scientific field inaugurated as petro-mineralogical ecology and needs further investigation.
KeywordsChlorite Ecological rating of clay minerals Mica Petro-mineralogical ecology Radiocesium Smectites Vermiculite
Field work and soil sampling were performed and samples partly analyzed in the framework of the International INCO-Copernicus projects SPARTACUS and STREAM.
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