Study of 137Cs redistribution in semi-arid land of western Algeria for soil loss assessment

Ahmed Azbouche, Mohamed Belamri, Abdelkrim Hamoudi, Boutkhil Morsli, Zaida Melzi


Soil erosion is a global environmental problem, and anthropogenic fallout radionuclides offer a promising tool for describing and quantifying soil redistribution on decadal time scales. The 137Cs technique for investigating rates and patterns of soil erosion has now been successfully applied in a wide range of environments. This radionuclide strongly adheres to soil particles and therefore can be used as a tracer in soil movement studies.
In this work we present the 137Cs redistribution in an agricultural area, to assess the soil erosion and sedimentation zones. 36 samples were collected in small watershed called Sidi Mohamed Cherif at Oued Isser located in North West of Algeria. The preparation of soil samples required drying, crushing and sieving to finally lower than 2mm diameter.
The sample analysis was analyzed by gamma spectrometry technique composed with a high resolution HPGe semi-conductor detector with 1.8 keV to 60Co 1332.5 keV line, after soil characterization with WDXRF. The spectrums treatment was carried out using the Genie 2000 software dedicated to the processing of gamma spectra. The specific activity of 137Cs is obtained variable from 0.25Bq kg-1 and 7.8 Bq kg-1. These results allow determining the erosion global erosion rate, is about 12.5 t ha?1 yr?1.
Keywords: 137Cs, Soil Characterization, Soil erosion, Gamma spectrometry, North West of Algeria.

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