Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 509–516 | Cite as

A Mechanical Model for Sieving of Large Deposited Atmospheric Particulates in Surface Soil

  • Masashi NakanoEmail author
  • Raymond N. Yong


A mechanical model for analyzing the sieving of large particulates in soil is proposed and a procedure for assessing soil contamination by airborne hazardous particulates is discussed. The model proposes that deposition of airborne particulates in soil is the results of transport processes of particulates in surface soil. The mechanical sieving of particulates is due to (a) trapping of particulates by the constricted necks of soil pores, (b) adhesion of particulates to pore walls, and (c) suspension in soil water. The probability of particulates being sieved is determined by the cumulative frequency of pore size distribution of the soil. The proposed model indicated that more than 95% of the falling particulates were sieved in the top 5 cm of the surface soil. Furthermore, the model estimated that the unrecorded initial fall of 137Cs associated with contaminated particulates was in the range of 2229–2310 kBqm−2 d−1 and that the unrecorded initial depositions in the 1-cm surface layer were in the range from 129 to 135 kBqkg−1 at a location of about 30 km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.


Mechanical model Large particulate Sieving Transport Soil Contamination Cesium 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishers of Japan (MAFF) and Japan Atomic Energy Agency for permission to use and compile the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life ScienceThe University of TokyoOtsuJapan
  2. 2.William Scott Professor EmeritusMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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