Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 1025–1036 | Cite as

Weathering rates at Alto Sorocaba basin, Brazil, using U-isotopes and major cations

  • D. S. Sardinha
  • Daniel Marcos BonottoEmail author
  • F. T. da Conceição
Original Article


The aim of this paper was to evaluate the chemical weathering rate at Alto Sorocaba basin, São Paulo State, Brazil, as it is an important parameter on geomorphological characterization of continents. Several tools may be used for such evaluation, and this work compares the results obtained from analytical data involving the uranium concentration, the 234U/238U activity ratio and the major cation concentration for samples of waters, soils, and rocks from that basin. The use of the natural uranium as a tracer in weathering rate rocks studies is advantageous since this element is virtually absent in rainwater and also allows obtaining the dissolution rocks coefficient by the 234U/238U activity ratio. The Alto Sorocaba basin has serious environmental problems in terms of the quality of the rainwater and river waters, and, consequently, the geochemical balance using the main cations presented some difficulties. However, measuring of the weathering rate utilizing the U-isotopes method corresponded to 14 μm/year that allows estimating a time of 72,000 years to weather 1 m of rock at Sorocaba River upstream from Itupararanga Reservoir, under the present climatic conditions.


Weathering rate Hydrographic basin Uranium isotopes 



FAPESP (Foundation Supporting Research in São Paulo State) in Brazil is thanked for financial support for this investigation (Process No. 06/54884-3). Two anonymous referees are greatly thanked for helpful comments that improved the readability of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. S. Sardinha
    • 1
  • Daniel Marcos Bonotto
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. T. da Conceição
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Geociências e Ciências Exatas, IGCEUniversidade Estadual Paulista, UNESPRio ClaroBrazil

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