Advances in Earth Science ›› 2016, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (9): 885-893. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2016.09.0885

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Discussion on the Use of 7Be to Estimate Soil Erosion Rates

Shi Zhonglin, Wen Anbang, Yan Dongchun, Long Yi, Zhou Ping   

  1. Key Laboratory of Mountain Surface Processes and Ecological Regulation, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
  • Received:2016-06-20 Revised:2016-08-30 Online:2016-09-20 Published:2016-09-20
  • About author:Shi Zhonglin(1984-),male,Liulin County,Shanxi Province, Research assistant. Research areas include soil erosion and sediment investigation.E-mail:shizl@imde.ac.cn
  • Supported by:
    Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China “Particle size effects on estimating soil erosion rates on purple soil cultivated land by using 137Cs and 7Be measurements”(No.41301293); The National Basic Research Programme of China “Soil and water imbalance mechanism and disaster risk evaluation in Hengduan Mountain areas” (No.2015CB452704)

Shi Zhonglin, Wen Anbang, Yan Dongchun, Long Yi, Zhou Ping. Discussion on the Use of 7Be to Estimate Soil Erosion Rates[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2016, 31(9): 885-893.

7Be is a naturally occurring cosmogenic radionuclide produced in the stratosphere and troposphere as a result of cosmic ray spallation of nitrogen and oxygen. The constant fallout via precipitation and short half-life (53.3 days), coupled with shallow depth distribution in soil profile (~2 cm) provide the unique advantages for its application as a soil and sediment tracer over short timescales, such as a single storm or short period of extreme rainfall. With the climate change and increasing rainfall events, the 7Be tracing method will exhibit wide application prospect in future. To date, however, this technique is still in its infancy and some important assumptions have not yet been effectively validated. Consequently, the use of 7Be to document soil erosion rates has been limited. This contribution briefly reviews the history and current status relating to this tracing method. In addition, the basic principles and recent research progresses in conversion models for use of 7Be measurements to estimate soil redistribution rates are introduced. The key assumptions and uncertainties of the technique, as well as the effects of the vegetation interception and particle size selectivity are discussed. Additionally, some new investigation directions are provided, including the assumption validation and uncertainty analysis, the impact of vegetation interception, the extending of spatial and temporal scales, and the development of new conversion models.
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