Iodine-129 enrichment in sediment of the Baltic Sea

A. Aldahan, E. Englund, G. Possnert, I. Cato, X. L. Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Sediments are an excellent archive for evaluation of time-series environmental contamination of water systems. Measurements of ultra-trace radioactive species, such as 129I, provide information for both chronologic calibration and anthropogenic emissions during the nuclear era. Here data are presented on 129I and other chemical parameters from two sediment cores collected in the Baltic Sea during 1997. The sediment sections have a relatively uniform grain size (clay-mud) and cover a period of about 50 a. Distribution of 129I in the sediment strongly relates to the liquid release records from the nuclear reprocessing facilities at Sellafield and La Hague. However, syn- and post-depositional alteration of organic matter at the sediment-water interface and within the sediment column may have contributed to slightly obliterating the anthropogenic 129I signals. Indication of Chernobyl-derived 129I occurs in the sediment profile, but is apparently overridden by the overwhelming flux from the nuclear reprocessing facilities. Although the record did not cover the pre-nuclear era (before 1945) sections, the ultra sensitive 129I profile provides a potential tool for relative dating and monitoring sources of water and sediment to the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-647
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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