Environmental Radioactivity Research Centre

The University of Liverpool Environmental Radioactivity Research Centre (ERRC) was established in the mid-1980s in response to the growing need for a facility to carry out radiometric dating of recent sediments using records of natural (210Pb) and artificial (137Cs, 241Am) fallout radionuclides.

It was also intended that the Centre should provide a coherent base from which to deploy the wide range of interdisciplinary skills essential to studies of environmental radioactivity and its applications. Personnel associated with the Centre include staff from the Departments of Mathematical Sciences, Geography, Physics and Earth Sciences. Members of the ERRC pioneered the development and testing of the widely used CRS and CIC models (Appleby & Oldfield 1978), and non-destructive methods for determining 210Pb and the supporting 226Ra by gamma spectrometry (Appleby et al. 1986). The ERRC has developed a sophisticated software package for analysing 210Pb data. It also manages an extensive data base containing radiometric records from the many hundreds of cores worldwide analysed at the ERRC over the past 35 years.

Research themes include:

  • Radiometric dating of lake, marine and coastal sediments and peat cores
  • Modelling the transfer of radionuclides through the atmosphere and in catchment/lake systems
  • Reconstruction of historical levels of environmental pollution from sediment records
  • Studies of catchment erosion
  • Studies of Chernobyl fallout


Appleby PG, Oldfield F, The calculation of 210Pb dates assuming a constant rate of supply of unsupported 210Pb to the sediment. Catena, 1978, 5:1-8

Appleby PG, Nolan PJ, Gifford DW, Godfrey MJ, Oldfield F, Anderson NJ, Battarbee RW. 210Pb dating by low-background gamma counting Hydrobiologia, 1986, 143, 21-27

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