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Cosmogenic exposure age dating

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Cosmogenic nuclides such as these are produced by chains of spallation reactions. This isotope may be produced by cosmic ray spallation of calcium or potassium. The cumulative flux of cosmic rays at a particular location can be affected by several factors, including elevation, geomagnetic latitude, the varying intensity of the Earth's magnetic field , solar winds, and atmospheric shielding due to air pressure variations. Because there are two radionuclides decaying, the ratio of concentrations of these two nuclides can be used without any other knowledge to determine an age at which the sample was buried past the production depth typically 2—10 meters. By the time the cosmic ray cascade reaches the surface of Earth it is primarily composed of neutrons. Both can be used individually to date how long the material has been exposed at the surface. The parent isotopes are the most abundant of these elements, and are common in crustal material, whereas the radioactive daughter nuclei are not commonly produced by other processes. Each of these nuclides is produced at a different rate. Chlorine nuclides are also measured to date surface rocks. As oxygen is also common in the atmosphere, the contribution to the beryllium concentration from material deposited rather than created in situ must be taken into account. Using certain cosmogenic radionuclides , scientists can date how long a particular surface has been exposed, how long a certain piece of material has been buried, or how quickly a location or drainage basin is eroding.

Cosmogenic exposure age dating


These particles interact with atoms in atmospheric gases, producing a cascade of secondary particles that may in turn interact and reduce their energies in many reactions as they pass through the atmosphere. The parent isotopes are the most abundant of these elements, and are common in crustal material, whereas the radioactive daughter nuclei are not commonly produced by other processes. Each of these nuclides is produced at a different rate. Decay rates are given by the decay constants of the nuclides. Cosmogenic nuclides such as these are produced by chains of spallation reactions. These nuclides are particularly useful to geologists because they are produced when cosmic rays strike oxygen and silicon , respectively. By the time the cosmic ray cascade reaches the surface of Earth it is primarily composed of neutrons. The cumulative flux of cosmic rays at a particular location can be affected by several factors, including elevation, geomagnetic latitude, the varying intensity of the Earth's magnetic field , solar winds, and atmospheric shielding due to air pressure variations. This isotope may be produced by cosmic ray spallation of calcium or potassium. In rock and other materials of similar density, most of the cosmic ray flux is absorbed within the first meter of exposed material in reactions that produce new isotopes called cosmogenic nuclides. Rates of nuclide production must be estimated in order to date a rock sample. These rates are usually estimated empirically by comparing the concentration of nuclides produced in samples whose ages have been dated by other means, such as radiocarbon dating , thermoluminescence , or optically stimulated luminescence. Because there are two radionuclides decaying, the ratio of concentrations of these two nuclides can be used without any other knowledge to determine an age at which the sample was buried past the production depth typically 2—10 meters. The excess relative to natural abundance of cosmogenic nuclides in a rock sample is usually measured by means of accelerator mass spectrometry. These equations can be combined to give the total concentration of cosmogenic radionuclides in a sample as a function of age. Both can be used individually to date how long the material has been exposed at the surface. At Earth's surface most of these nuclides are produced by neutron spallation. The two most frequently measured cosmogenic nuclides are beryllium and aluminum As oxygen is also common in the atmosphere, the contribution to the beryllium concentration from material deposited rather than created in situ must be taken into account. Chlorine nuclides are also measured to date surface rocks. The production rate for a particular nuclide is a function of geomagnetic latitude, the amount of sky that can be seen from the point that is sampled, elevation, sample depth, and density of the material in which the sample is embedded. Earth is constantly bombarded with primary cosmic rays , high energy charged particles — mostly protons and alpha particles. Using certain cosmogenic radionuclides , scientists can date how long a particular surface has been exposed, how long a certain piece of material has been buried, or how quickly a location or drainage basin is eroding.

Cosmogenic exposure age dating


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