Soil samples from areas in Belarus, Russia and Sweden contaminated by the Chernobyl accident were analysed for I-129 by radiochemical neutron activation analysis, as well as for Cs-137 by gamma-spectrometry. The atomic ratio of I-129/(CS)-C-137 in the upper layer of the examined soil cores ranged from 0.10 to 0.30, with an average of 0.18, and no correlation between I-129/Cs-137 ratio and the distance from Chernobyl reactor to sampling location was observed. It seems feasible to use the I-129/Cs-137 ratio to reconstruct the deposition pattern of I-131 in these areas. The association of I-129 and (CS)-C-137 in the Chernobyl soil and Irish Sea sediment was investigated by a sequential extraction method. Similar speciation of I-129 in the Chernobyl soil and Irish Sea sediment was found. Approximately 70% of I-129 is bound to oxides and organic matter, and 10-20% is in the readily available phase, while most of the (CS)-C-137 (73%) in Chernobyl soil remains in the extraction residue. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.