EGU23-4811, updated on 22 Feb 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Inferring Long Term Averaged Soil Redistribution Pattern using Meteoric 10Be

Arkaprabha Sarkar1, Vimal Singh1, Pankaj Kumar2, Pavitra V. Kumar2, and Rajveer Sharma2
Arkaprabha Sarkar et al.
  • 1Department of Geology, Chhatra Marg, University of Delhi, Delhi - 110007, India
  • 2Inter-University Accelerator Centre, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067, India

Soil loss is one of the major environmental threats the world is facing due to horizontal expansion of cities and increasing land abuse. It has been previously shown by workers that the abuse or improper use of land and soil had adversely affected early civilisations. Keeping into consideration the imminent threat, a number of methods have been proposed to estimate soil loss e.g. numerical models, monitoring-based field methods. However, these are either time-consuming or inherently carry a degree of uncertainty.

One method involves using environmental fallout nuclides as tracers of soil erosion and mapping areas of soil loss and accumulation. The commonly used nuclides in this technique are 137Cs and 7Be. 137Cs is a nuclear fission product and cannot be used to track soil dynamics older than 1940s, while 7Be has a very short half-life and is used to study soil dynamics in a seasonal scale.

In this study, we have proposed a method of using meteoric 10Be to trace long-term soil redistribution in a landscape. This cosmogenic nuclide is produced in the atmosphere and reaches the land surface by dry and wet fallout. Once it reaches the surface, it is adsorbed by the soil particles and it mobilizes along with the soil. Thus, higher concentrations indicate net soil accumulation, whereas, lower concentrations are due to net soil loss. The rate of delivery of 10Be flux estimated from global circulation models (GCMs) has been used to calculate rates of erosion.

We tested our method in Pranmati catchment, a small river catchment (~93 km2) in Uttarakhand, India and validated by comparing our findings with previously proposed geomorphic transport laws. Our results show that soil erodes from the high lying divergent (convex) topography and accumulates in the low lying convergent (concave) topography. The rates of erosion are also influenced by land cover – erosion in forests is much slower compared to grassland.

How to cite: Sarkar, A., Singh, V., Kumar, P., Kumar, P. V., and Sharma, R.: Inferring Long Term Averaged Soil Redistribution Pattern using Meteoric 10Be, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-4811,, 2023.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary material file