Using Short-lived Radionuclides to Estimate Rates of Soil Motion in Frost Boils
Journal article, 2014

Cryoturbation in high-latitude soils is crucial for the long-term cycling of elements, but the rates of soil motion are poorly constrained. Here, we test whether the rate of frost creep, soil erosion and vertical soil mixing in frost boils can be estimated using short-lived radionuclides (Cs-137 and Pb-210). We find a small-scale variation in Cs-137 and Pb-210 inventories in the lower levels of the eroding regions of frost boils in comparison to the expected depositional sites; hence, the distribution of the radionuclides appears to reflect a lateral transport of atmospheric fallout from the centre of the boil (inner domain) towards the surrounding soil (outer domain). C-14 dating of the soil indicates that fallout of Cs-137 was mobile in the soil and that Pb-210 moved with the soil matrix. A soil creep model and a surface soil erosion model are derived and applied to the lateral and vertical distributions of Pb-210 in the frost boil. Both models predict the expected trajectories of soil motion and provide rates of creep, erosion and mixing at a mm yr(-1) to cm yr(-1) scale. The distribution of Pb-210 provides new insights about the processes and rates of soil mass movement in frost boils, if sound mass-balance models are applied.

non-sorted circles





northern sweden





J. Klaminder

Umeå University

K. Yoo

University of Minnesota

C. Olid

Umeå University

Henrik Ramebäck

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Nuclear Chemistry

Anna Vesterlund

Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)

Permafrost and Periglacial Processes

1045-6740 (ISSN) 1099-1530 (eISSN)

Vol. 25 3 184-193

Subject Categories

Environmental Sciences



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