Careful and thorough soil sampling is the most important component of any 137Cs study. This is an area in which large systematic (or random) errors can be introduced to the data. Unless meticulous notes and observations are made, these errors can be difficult to trace and their influence unknown. It is also one of the major reasons why discrepancies arise in data reported by different authors and studies in the literature. Consequently, it is crucial to note the type and dimensions of the sampling device(s) so that the surface area and depth of samples is known. Care should be taken to avoid contamination of samples by the inclusion of materials from outside the sampled area. All materials and samples should be carefully labelled and details noted in field notebooks. Attention to these details should avoid any possibility of jeopardizing the accuracy of subsequent laboratory analyses.
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