Uranium and thorium contents in soils and bottom sediments of lake Bolshoye Yarovoye, western Siberia

I. N. Malikova, V. D. Strakhovenko, M. T. Ustinov

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The uranium and thorium contents in the soils and bottom sediments of the Lake Bolshoye Yarovoye natural system correspond to the data for the steppe climate zone and are noticeably lower than the background values for the Altai Territory as a whole. Factors that reduce the content of uranium and thorium are: 1 - lighter grain size distribution of the substrate, and, accordingly, the soils in this area; 2 - low content of organic matter (high ash content at 600 °C); 3 - the presence of significant quantities of quartz and calcite; 4 - general salinization of soils and the development of the solonchak process; 5 - remoteness from the region of material removal from the Altai mountains with its uranium-thorium-bearing granites and various mineraliszation. The distribution of uranium and thorium in the soils of the catchment area is heterogeneous. Minimum contents are observed in the soils of the boggy eastern coast and in its southern part in connection with the development of the solonchak process. This part of the catchment is characterized by high salinity (HCO3 - Na+) of water extracts in soils. Under subalkaline and alkaline conditions (pH 7.1–8.4) in soil waters, an increase in the content of these ions facilitates the transition of uranium to the liquid phase and its migration to the lake. In this part of the water area, the maximum uranium content in bottom sediments is observed. The results of cluster analysis indicate a change in the correlation of uranium and thorium during their redistribution from soils to bottom sediments. In soils, there is no correlation between uranium and thorium; in the bottom sediments, a strong positive correlation is observed between them (correlation coefficient 0.9). Uranium in soils has only a bond with Cr and possibly with Mn. The absence of a correlation with the elements of the mineral component of the soil confirms it finding, mainly in soluble form. In bottom sediments, both elements are associated with the mineral component. The established features of the distribution of uranium and thorium in the soils and bottom sediments of Lake Bolshoye Yarovoye indicate the need for detailed geochemical studies in lakes of a similar type. This will help to avoid ecological risks when choosing such lakes as anthropogenic objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106048
Pages (from-to)106048
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


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