Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 881–895 | Cite as

Post-depositional 137Cs Mobility in the Sediments of Three Shallow Coastal Lagoons, SW England

  • I. D. L. FosterEmail author
  • T. M. Mighall
  • H. Proffitt
  • D. E. Walling
  • P. N. Owens


We present 137Cs profiles for three low lying coastal lagoons in Southwest England that show a decline in activity with sediment depth. 137Cs inventories are lower than expected by comparison with local reference inventories despite the fact that sampling was undertaken in the deep-water zone of each lake where sediment and 137Cs focusing would be expected. At all three locations, lake sediment 7Be and unsupported 210Pb  (210Pbun) inventories are not significantly lower than the local reference inventory. 137Cs inventories in the study cores range from 38 to 95% of local reference inventories. The standing water level and mud: water interface at two sites are below maximum tide level and, at all three sites, salinity increases significantly in the water columns between low and high tide and in the pore waters of the underlying sediments. We suggest that the difference in hydrostatic pressure between sea level and standing water levels in the lagoons forces salt water up through the sediment column and that monovalent cations (especially Na+ and K+) replace 137Cs on exchange sites leading to the upward migration and loss of 137Cs. Rising sea levels may therefore contribute to remobilisation and release of 137Cs to the aquatic environment from the sediments of coastal lagoons.


137Cs remobilisation 210Pb 7Be Coastal lagoons Salinity changes 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. D. L. Foster
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • T. M. Mighall
    • 2
  • H. Proffitt
    • 1
  • D. E. Walling
    • 3
  • P. N. Owens
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Research and ConsultancyCoventry UniversityCoventryUK
  2. 2.Department of Geography and EnvironmentUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of ExeterExeterUK
  4. 4.National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI)Cranfield UniversityOkehampton, DevonUK
  5. 5.Geography DepartmentRhodes UniversityEastern CapeSouth Africa

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