A detailed and comprehensive map of the distribution patterns for both natural and artificial radionuclides over Antarctica has been established. This work integrates the results of several decades of international programs focusing on the analysis of natural and artificial radionuclides in snow and ice cores from this polar region. The mean value (37±20 Bq m-2) of241Pu total deposition over 28 stations is determined from the gamma emissions of its daughter241Am, presenting a long half-life (432.7 yrs). Detailed profiles and distributions of241Pu in ice cores make it possible to clearly distinguish between the atmospheric thermonuclear tests of the fifties and sixties. Strong relationships are also found between radionuclide data (137Cs with respect to241Pu and210Pb with respect to137Cs), make it possible to estimate the total deposition or natural fluxes of these radionuclides. Total deposition of137Cs over Antarctica is estimated at 760 TBq, based on results from the 90-180° East sector. Given the irregular distribution of sampling sites, more ice cores and snow samples must be analyzed in other sectors of Antarctica to check the validity of this figure. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis