Both isotopes when coalescing with raindrops, will fall to the atmosphere and be absorped and adsorped by plant matter in a marsh.As sea level rises, the sediments accumulate vertically covering older sediments and seasonal plant matter.The UCL Environmental Radiometric Facility is located within the Department of Geography, University College London and uses low-background hyper-pure germanium gamma spectrometers capable of measuring low-level environmental radioactivity. This enables chronologies of 100 - 150 years to be accurately determined.The facility has undertaken these analyses for research projects based in many areas of the world.This continues over time and a vertical accretion of mud accumulates leaving a record of the past.We sample the mud by coring and collecting through it, then run dried and crushed mud samples through the Gemanium Gamma Detector to measure Cs-137 and Pb-210 levels.
Pb-210 activity within sediment can be used to estimate accretion rates.
Most suitable for dating undisturbed sediments less that about 60 years old. Cs peaked between 19 as a result of the atmospheric nuclear explosions and later by the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
These events can be identified in sediments where they form distinctive time stratigraphic marker horizons.
This approach can also be used in a number of other ways to investigate the distribution of radioisotopes in the environment through measurements of a wide range of environmental and ecological samples.
UK Environmental Change Research Centre, University College London ( Before sending samples for analysis it is important to contact either Handong Yang or Neil Rose (see Contacts) regarding up-to-date costs and the time from receipt of samples to reporting as this can vary depending on demand.