Relationship between precipitation and 10Be and impacts on soil dynamics

Peng Chen, Peng Yi, Markus Czymzik, Ala Aldahan, Karl Ljung, Zhongbo Yu, Xiaolin Hou, Minjie Zheng, Xuegao Chen, Göran Possnert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Meteoric beryllium-10 (10Be) is commonly used as a proxy of landscape dynamics (erosion and sedimentation rates) and soil development. Soil represents the first-stage reservoir of meteoric 10Be, and variability in the concentration of the isotope in soils may be affected by soil properties and atmospheric deposition. Although many investigations have targeted this issue, there are still problems in estimating the atmospheric input of the isotope in different soil environments. Here, we used 10Be data measured in soils distributed across China to explore the potential influence of meteorological and pedological conditions on the isotope concentration and related applications. In addition, to determine the mechanisms controlling 10Be concentrations in topsoil on a regional scale, the soil samples were sub-divided into 18 different catchments according to fluvial systems. The results indicated that there were significant negative correlations between precipitation and the soil 10Be concentration in high-precipitation regions (>1200 mm·y−1) and significant positive correlations for soils in low precipitation regions (<1200 mm·y−1). The data also revealed that precipitation is the most important variable controlling the 10Be concentration in soils of China when compared with the effects of soil properties such as grain size, mineralogy, pH, and cation exchange capacity. Land use and soil erosion may have limited impacts on the distribution of 10Be in soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104748
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Be concentration
  • PCA
  • Precipitation
  • Runoff
  • Soil properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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