MOBILITY OF NATURAL RADIONUCLIDES AND SELECTED MAJOR AND TRACE ELEMENTS ALONG A SOIL TOPOSEQUENCE IN THE CENTRAL SPANISH PYRENEES
Natural gamma-emitting radionuclides ( 238 U, 226 Ra, 232 Th, 210 Pb) and selected major and trace elements (were determined in a soil toposequence along a mountain slope of the Tertiary Flysch landscapes in the Central Spanish Pyrenees. A variety of basic properties were also measured from the soil profiles. Mean radioisotope activities (Bq kg -1 ) range from 22 to 33 for 238 U; 25 to 32 for 226 Ra; 23 to 33 for 210 Pb and 37 to 46 for 232 Th. The radionuclides showed different patterns in
... r depth distribution, thus 238 U and 210 Pb had largest differences in concentrations down the soil profiles whereas 226 Ra and 232 Th exhibited quite uniform depth distributions. 238 U was depleted in all upper soil layers and enriched in deeper layers. 210 Pb exhibits very different depth profiles along the soil toposequence and accumulated at upper layers in three sites. 238 U/ 226 Ra activity ratios indicate disequilibrium in the 238 U decay chain and reflect the leaching of 238 U in 2 contrast with the lack of mobility of 226 Ra. The values of 232 Th/ 226 Ra indicate that the initial proportionality in the 238 U and 232 Th decay chains has not been maintained in this toposequence. The relationships between soil properties and gamma-emitting radionuclides suggested the association of 226 Ra and 232 Th with Fe and Mn oxides. Al, Ca, Fe and K were the most abundant, followed by Mn, Ba, Pb, Sr, Li and Zn whereas Co, Cu, Ni and Cr are as trace elements and Cd was not detected. Correlations between elements suggest association with carbonates (Ca, Sr), silicates and clay minerals (Al, K, Na ) and with Fe and Mn oxides (Cr, Cu, Ni, Co, Zn ). Along the soil toposequence, Ca, Sr, Mg and Na, K, and Al increase at the bottom slope positions, due to highest carbonate contents and abundance of finer soil fractions (clay and silt) respectively. Fe and Mn decrease at the bottom slope because highest contents of Fe and Mn oxides are at upper slope positions. This research is of interest to describe the geochemical cycling of elements in the environment and to assess the processes that affect their mobility in the ecosystems. Short title: Radionuclides and major and trace elements along a soil toposequence.