Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
19 Oct 2021
Research article | 19 Oct 2021
Cosmogenic nuclide exposure age scatter records glacial history and processes in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
Andrew J. Christ et al.
No articles found.
Allie Balter-Kennedy, Joerg M. Schaefer, Roseanne Schwartz, Jennifer L. Lamp, Laura Penrose, Jennifer Middleton, Bouchaïb Tibari, Pierre-Henri Blard, Gisela Winckler, Alan J. Hidy, and Greg Balco
Cosmogenic nuclides like 10Be are rare isotopes created in rocks exposed at the Earth’s surface and can be used to understand glacier histories and landscape evolution. 10Be is usually measured in the mineral quartz. Here, we show that 10Be can be reliably measured in the mineral pyroxene. We use the measurements to determine exposure ages and understand landscape processes in rocks from Antarctica that do not have quartz, expanding the use of this method to new rock types.
Adrian M. Bender, Richard O. Lease, Lee B. Corbett, Paul R. Bierman, Marc W. Caffee, James V. Jones, and Doug Kreiner
Earth Surf. Dynam., 10, 1041–1053,Short summary
To understand landscape evolution in the mineral resource-rich Yukon River basin (Alaska and Canada), we mapped and cosmogenic isotope-dated river terraces along the Charley River. Results imply widespread Yukon River incision that drove increased Bering Sea sedimentation and carbon sequestration during global climate changes 2.6 and 1 million years ago. Such erosion may have fed back to late Cenozoic climate change by reducing atmospheric carbon as observed in many records worldwide.
Jason P. Briner, Caleb K. Walcott, Joerg M. Schaefer, Nicolás E. Young, Joseph A. MacGregor, Kristin Poinar, Benjamin A. Keisling, Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Mary R. Albert, Tanner Kuhl, and Grant Boeckmann
The Cryosphere, 16, 3933–3948,Short summary
The 7.4 m of sea level equivalent stored as Greenland ice is getting smaller every year. The uncertain trajectory of ice loss could be better understood with knowledge of the ice sheet's response to past climate change. Within the bedrock below the present-day ice sheet is an archive of past ice-sheet history. We analyze all available data from Greenland to create maps showing where on the ice sheet scientists can drill, using currently available drills, to obtain sub-ice materials.
Marie Bergelin, Jaakko Putkonen, Greg Balco, Daniel Morgan, Lee B. Corbett, and Paul R. Bierman
The Cryosphere, 16, 2793–2817,Short summary
Glacier ice contains information on past climate and can help us understand how the world changes through time. We have found and sampled a buried ice mass in Antarctica that is much older than most ice on Earth and difficult to date. Therefore, we developed a new dating application which showed the ice to be 3 million years old. Our new dating solution will potentially help to date other ancient ice masses since such old glacial ice could yield data on past environmental conditions on Earth.
Leah A. VanLandingham, Eric W. Portenga, Edward C. Lefroy, Amanda H. Schmidt, Paul R. Bierman, and Alan J. Hidy
Geochronology, 4, 153–176,Short summary
This study presents erosion rates of the George River and seven of its tributaries in northeast Tasmania, Australia. These erosion rates are the first measures of landscape change over millennial timescales for Tasmania. We demonstrate that erosion is closely linked to a topographic rainfall gradient across George River. Our findings may be useful for efforts to restore ecological health to Georges Bay by determining a pre-disturbance level of erosion and sediment delivery to this estuary.
María H. Toyos, Gisela Winckler, Helge W. Arz, Lester Lembke-Jene, Carina B. Lange, Gerhard Kuhn, and Frank Lamy
Clim. Past, 18, 147–166,Short summary
Past export production in the southeast Pacific and its link to Patagonian ice dynamics is unknown. We reconstruct biological productivity changes at the Pacific entrance to the Drake Passage, covering the past 400 000 years. We show that glacial–interglacial variability in export production responds to glaciogenic Fe supply from Patagonia and silica availability due to shifts in oceanic fronts, whereas dust, as a source of lithogenic material, plays a minor role.
Irene Schimmelpfennig, Joerg M. Schaefer, Jennifer Lamp, Vincent Godard, Roseanne Schwartz, Edouard Bard, Thibaut Tuna, Naki Akçar, Christian Schlüchter, Susan Zimmerman, and ASTER Team
Clim. Past, 18, 23–44,Short summary
Small mountain glaciers advance and recede as a response to summer temperature changes. Dating of glacial landforms with cosmogenic nuclides allowed us to reconstruct the advance and retreat history of an Alpine glacier throughout the past ~ 11 000 years, the Holocene. The results contribute knowledge to the debate of Holocene climate evolution, indicating that during most of this warm period, summer temperatures were similar to or warmer than in modern times.
Sandra M. Braumann, Joerg M. Schaefer, Stephanie M. Neuhuber, Christopher Lüthgens, Alan J. Hidy, and Markus Fiebig
Clim. Past, 17, 2451–2479,Short summary
Glacier reconstructions provide insights into past climatic conditions and elucidate processes and feedbacks that modulate the climate system both in the past and present. We investigate the transition from the last glacial to the current interglacial and generate beryllium-10 moraine chronologies in glaciated catchments of the eastern European Alps. We find that rapid warming was superimposed by centennial-scale cold phases that appear to have influenced large parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
Melisa A. Diaz, Lee B. Corbett, Paul R. Bierman, Byron J. Adams, Diana H. Wall, Ian D. Hogg, Noah Fierer, and W. Berry Lyons
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 1363–1380,Short summary
We collected soil surface samples and depth profiles every 5 cm (up to 30 cm) from 11 ice-free areas along the Shackleton Glacier, a major outlet glacier of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), and measured meteoric beryllium-10 and nitrate concentrations to understand the relationship between salts and beryllium-10. This relationship can help inform wetting history, landscape disturbance, and exposure duration.
Nicolás E. Young, Alia J. Lesnek, Josh K. Cuzzone, Jason P. Briner, Jessica A. Badgeley, Alexandra Balter-Kennedy, Brandon L. Graham, Allison Cluett, Jennifer L. Lamp, Roseanne Schwartz, Thibaut Tuna, Edouard Bard, Marc W. Caffee, Susan R. H. Zimmerman, and Joerg M. Schaefer
Clim. Past, 17, 419–450,Short summary
Retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) margin is exposing a bedrock landscape that holds clues regarding the timing and extent of past ice-sheet minima. We present cosmogenic nuclide measurements from recently deglaciated bedrock surfaces (the last few decades), combined with a refined chronology of southwestern Greenland deglaciation and model simulations of GrIS change. Results suggest that inland retreat of the southwestern GrIS margin was likely minimal in the middle to late Holocene.
Hannah S. Weiss, Paul R. Bierman, Yves Dubief, and Scott D. Hamshaw
The Cryosphere, 13, 3367–3382,Short summary
Climate change is devastating winter tourism. High-elevation, high-latitude ski centers have turned to saving snow over the summer. We present results of two field seasons to test and optimize over-summer snow storage at a midlatitude, low-elevation nordic ski center in the northeastern USA. In 2018, we tested coverings and found success overlaying 20 cm of wet woodchips with a reflective sheet. In 2019, we employed this strategy to a large pile and stored sufficient snow to open the ski season.
Maxwell T. Cunningham, Colin P. Stark, Michael R. Kaplan, and Joerg M. Schaefer
Earth Surf. Dynam., 7, 147–169,Short summary
Glacial erosion is known to limit the height of midlatitude mountain ranges affected by substantial glaciation during cold periods. Our study examines this phenomenon in the tropics. A new form of hypsometric analysis, along with other evidence, of 10 tropical ranges reveals widespread signs of a perched glacial base level at the ELA. Although glacial influence is moderate to weak in these environments, the evidence suggests that glacial erosion acts to limit the height of tropical ranges.
Joshua M. Maurer, Summer B. Rupper, and Joerg M. Schaefer
The Cryosphere, 10, 2203–2215,Short summary
Here we utilize declassified spy satellite imagery to quantify ice volume loss of glaciers in the eastern Himalayas over approximately the last three decades. Clean-ice and debris-covered glaciers show similar magnitudes of ice loss, while calving glaciers are contributing a disproportionately large amount to total ice loss. Results highlight important physical processes affecting the ice mass budget and associated water resources in the Himalayas.
Shaun R. Eaves, Andrew N. Mackintosh, Brian M. Anderson, Alice M. Doughty, Dougal B. Townsend, Chris E. Conway, Gisela Winckler, Joerg M. Schaefer, Graham S. Leonard, and Andrew T. Calvert
Clim. Past, 12, 943–960,Short summary
Geological evidence for past changes in glacier length provides a useful source of information about pre-historic climate change. We have used glacier modelling to show that air temperature reductions of −5 to −7 °C, relative to present, are required to simulate the glacial extent in the North Island, New Zealand, during the last ice age (approx. 20000 years ago). Our results provide data to assess climate model simulations, with the aim of determining the drivers of past natural climate change.
S. Albani, N. M. Mahowald, G. Winckler, R. F. Anderson, L. I. Bradtmiller, B. Delmonte, R. François, M. Goman, N. G. Heavens, P. P. Hesse, S. A. Hovan, S. G. Kang, K. E. Kohfeld, H. Lu, V. Maggi, J. A. Mason, P. A. Mayewski, D. McGee, X. Miao, B. L. Otto-Bliesner, A. T. Perry, A. Pourmand, H. M. Roberts, N. Rosenbloom, T. Stevens, and J. Sun
Clim. Past, 11, 869–903,Short summary
We propose an innovative framework to organize paleodust records, formalized in a publicly accessible database, and discuss the emerging properties of the global dust cycle during the Holocene by integrating our analysis with simulations performed with the Community Earth System Model. We show how the size distribution of dust is intrinsically related to the dust mass accumulation rates and that only considering a consistent size range allows for a consistent analysis of the global dust cycle.
Related subject area
Cosmogenic nuclide dating10Be age control of glaciation in the Beartooth Mountains, USA, from the latest Pleistocene through the HoloceneConstraining the aggradation mode of Pleistocene river deposits based on cosmogenic radionuclide depth profiling and numerical modellingTechnical note: Evaluating a geographical information system (GIS)-based approach for determining topographic shielding factors in cosmic-ray exposure datingCombined linear-regression and Monte Carlo approach to modeling exposure age depth profilesCosmogenic nuclide weathering biases: corrections and potential for denudation and weathering rate measurementsCosmogenic nuclide and solute flux data from central Cuban rivers emphasize the importance of both physical and chemical mass loss from tropical landscapesTechnical Note: A software framework for calculating compositionally dependent in situ 14C production ratesTechnical note: Accelerator mass spectrometry of 10Be and 26Al at low nuclide concentrationsReconciling the apparent absence of a Last Glacial Maximum alpine glacial advance, Yukon Territory, Canada, through cosmogenic beryllium-10 and carbon-14 measurementsCosmogenic ages indicate no MIS 2 refugia in the Alexander Archipelago, AlaskaIn situ-produced cosmogenic krypton in zircon and its potential for Earth surface applicationsTechnical Note: Noble gas extraction procedure and performance of the Cologne Helix MC Plus multi-collector noble gas mass spectrometer for cosmogenic neon isotope analysisExposure dating of detrital magnetite using 3He enabled by microCT and calibration of the cosmogenic 3He production rate in magnetiteCalibrating a long-term meteoric 10Be delivery rate into eroding western US glacial deposits by comparing meteoric and in situ produced 10Be depth profilesDelayed and rapid deglaciation of alpine valleys in the Sawatch Range, southern Rocky Mountains, USATechnical note: A prototype transparent-middle-layer data management and analysis infrastructure for cosmogenic-nuclide exposure datingIsolation of quartz for cosmogenic in situ 14C analysisChlorine-36∕beryllium-10 burial dating of alluvial fan sediments associated with the Mission Creek strand of the San Andreas Fault system, California, USA
Aaron M. Barth, Elizabeth G. Ceperley, Claire Vavrus, Shaun A. Marcott, Jeremy D. Shakun, and Marc W. Caffee
Geochronology, 4, 731–743,Short summary
Deposits left behind by past glacial activity provide insight into the previous size and behavior of glaciers and act as another line of evidence for past climate. Here we present new age control for glacial deposits in the mountains of Montana and Wyoming, United States. While some deposits indicate glacial activity within the last 2000 years, others are shown to be older than previously thought, thus redefining the extent of regional Holocene glaciation.
Nathan Vandermaelen, Koen Beerten, François Clapuyt, Marcus Christl, and Veerle Vanacker
Geochronology, 4, 713–730,Short summary
We constrained deposition phases of fluvial sediments (NE Belgium) over the last 1 Myr with analysis and modelling of rare isotopes accumulation within sediments, occurring as a function of time and inverse function of depth. They allowed the determination of three superposed deposition phases and intercalated non-deposition periods of ~ 40 kyr each. These phases correspond to 20 % of the sediment age, which highlights the importance of considering deposition phase when dating fluvial sediments.
Felix Martin Hofmann
Geochronology, 4, 691–712,Short summary
If topographical obstructions are present in the surroundings of sampling sites, exposure ages of rock surfaces need to be corrected. A toolbox for the ESRI ArcGIS software allows for quantifying topographic shielding with a digital elevation model, but it has only been validated with few field data. In this study, the output of the toolbox is evaluated with a more extensive dataset. If suitable elevation data are chosen, the toolbox provides a sound approach to determine topographic shielding.
Yiran Wang and Michael E. Oskin
Geochronology, 4, 533–549,Short summary
When first introduced together with the depth profile technique to determine the surface exposure age, the linear inversion approach has suffered with the drawbacks of not incorporating erosion and muons into calculation. In this paper, we increase the accuracy and applicability of the linear inversion approach by fully considering surface erosion, muogenic production, and radioactive decay, while maintaining its advantage of being straightforward to determine an exposure age.
Richard F. Ott, Sean F. Gallen, and Darryl E. Granger
Geochronology, 4, 455–470,Short summary
Cosmogenic nuclides are a tool to quantify denudation – the total removal of mass from near the Earth's surface. Chemical weathering can introduce biases to cosmogenic-nuclide-based denudation rates measurements. Here, we investigate the effects of weathering on cosmogenic nuclides and develop tools to correct for this influence. Our results highlight which additional measurements are required to determine accurate denudation rates in regions where weathering is not negligible.
Mae Kate Campbell, Paul R. Bierman, Amanda H. Schmidt, Rita Sibello Hernández, Alejandro García-Moya, Lee B. Corbett, Alan J. Hidy, Héctor Cartas Águila, Aniel Guillén Arruebarrena, Greg Balco, David Dethier, and Marc Caffee
Geochronology, 4, 435–453,Short summary
We used cosmogenic radionuclides in detrital river sediment to measure erosion rates of watersheds in central Cuba; erosion rates are lower than rock dissolution rates in lowland watersheds. Data from two different cosmogenic nuclides suggest that some basins may have a mixed layer deeper than is typically modeled and could have experienced significant burial after or during exposure. We conclude that significant mass loss may occur at depth through chemical weathering processes.
Alexandria J. Koester and Nathaniel A. Lifton
Revised manuscript accepted for GChronShort summary
In situ 14C’s short half-life (5.7 ky) is unique among cosmogenic nuclides, making it sensitive to complex exposure/burial histories since 25 ka. Current extraction methods focus on quartz, but the ability to extract it from other minerals would expand applications. We developed MATLAB® scripts to calculate in situ 14C production rates from a broad range of mineral compositions. Results confirm O, Si, Al, and Mg as key targets, but also find significant production from Na for the first time.
Klaus M. Wilcken, Alexandru T. Codilean, Réka-H. Fülöp, Steven Kotevski, Anna H. Rood, Dylan H. Rood, Alexander J. Seal, and Krista Simon
Geochronology, 4, 339–352,Short summary
Cosmogenic nuclides are now widely applied in the Earth sciences; however, more recent applications often push the analytical limits of the technique. Our study presents a comprehensive method for analysis of cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al samples down to isotope concentrations of a few thousand atoms per gram of sample, which opens the door to new and more varied applications of cosmogenic nuclide analysis.
Brent M. Goehring, Brian Menounos, Gerald Osborn, Adam Hawkins, and Brent Ward
Geochronology, 4, 311–322,Short summary
We explored surface exposure dating with two nuclides to date two sets of moraines from the Yukon Territory and explain the reasoning for the observed ages. Results suggest multiple processes, including preservation of nuclides from a prior exposure period, and later erosion of the moraines is required to explain the data. Our results only allow for the older moraines to date to Marine Isotope Stage 3 or 4 and the younger moraines to date to the very earliest Holocene.
Caleb K. Walcott, Jason P. Briner, James F. Baichtal, Alia J. Lesnek, and Joseph M. Licciardi
Geochronology, 4, 191–211,Short summary
We present a record of ice retreat from the northern Alexander Archipelago, Alaska. During the last ice age (~ 26 000–19 000 years ago), these islands were covered by the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. We tested whether islands were ice-free during the last ice age for human migrants moving from Asia to the Americas. We found that these islands became ice-free between ~ 15 100 years ago and ~ 16 000 years ago, and thus these islands were not suitable for human habitation during the last ice age.
Tibor János Dunai, Steven Andrew Binnie, and Axel Gerdes
Geochronology, 4, 65–85,Short summary
We develop in situ-produced terrestrial cosmogenic krypton as a new tool to date and quantify Earth surface processes, the motivation being the availability of six stable isotopes and one radioactive isotope (81Kr, half-life 229 kyr) and of an extremely weathering-resistant target mineral (zircon). We provide proof of principle that terrestrial Krit can be quantified and used to unravel Earth surface processes.
Benedikt Ritter, Andreas Vogt, and Tibor J. Dunai
Geochronology, 3, 421–431,Short summary
We describe the design and performance of a new noble gas mass laboratory dedicated to the development of and application to cosmogenic nuclides at the University of Cologne (Germany). At the core of the laboratory are a state-of-the-art high-mass-resolution multicollector Helix MCPlus (Thermo-Fisher) noble gas mass spectrometer and a novel custom-designed automated extraction line, including a laser-powered extraction furnace. Performance was tested with intercomparison (CREU-1) material.
Florian Hofmann, Emily H. G. Cooperdock, A. Joshua West, Dominic Hildebrandt, Kathrin Strößner, and Kenneth A. Farley
Geochronology, 3, 395–414,Short summary
We use microCT scanning to improve the quality of 3He exposure ages measured in detrital magnetite. We show that the presence of inclusions can significantly increase the measured amount of 3He and thereby the exposure age. By prescreening magnetite with microCT and analyzing only inclusion-free grains, this problem can be avoided. We also calibrate the cosmogenic 3He production rate in magnetite relative to 10Be in quartz, which can be used for similar studies in the future.
Travis Clow, Jane K. Willenbring, Mirjam Schaller, Joel D. Blum, Marcus Christl, Peter W. Kubik, and Friedhelm von Blanckenburg
Geochronology, 2, 411–423,Short summary
Meteoric beryllium-10 concentrations in soil profiles have great capacity to quantify Earth surface processes, such as erosion rates and landform ages. However, determining these requires an accurate estimate of the delivery rate of this isotope to local sites. Here, we present a new method to constrain the long-term delivery rate to an eroding western US site, compare it against existing delivery rate estimates (revealing considerable disagreement between methods), and suggest best practices.
Joseph P. Tulenko, William Caffee, Avriel D. Schweinsberg, Jason P. Briner, and Eric M. Leonard
Geochronology, 2, 245–255,Short summary
We investigate the timing and rate of retreat for three alpine glaciers in the southern Rocky Mountains to test whether they followed the pattern of global climate change or were majorly influenced by regional forcing mechanisms. We find that the latter is most likely for these glaciers. Our conclusions are based on a new 10Be chronology of alpine glacier retreat. We quantify retreat rates for each valley using the BACON program in R, which may be of interest for the audience of Geochronology.
Geochronology, 2, 169–175,Short summary
Geologic dating methods generally do not directly measure ages. Instead, interpreting a geochemical measurement as an age requires a middle layer of calculations and supporting data, and the fact that this layer continually improves is an obstacle to synoptic analysis of geochronological data. This paper describes a prototype data management and analysis system that addresses this obstacle by making the middle-layer calculations transparent and dynamic to the user.
Keir A. Nichols and Brent M. Goehring
Geochronology, 1, 43–52,Short summary
We describe observations of anomalously high measurements of C-14 made from geologic material. We undertake a systematic investigation to identify the source of contamination, which we hypothesise is sourced from a commonly used method that is used prior to sample analysis. We find that the method does introduce modern carbon to samples and elevates C-14 measurements. We describe a standard procedure that effectively removes contamination from the aforementioned method.
Greg Balco, Kimberly Blisniuk, and Alan Hidy
Geochronology, 1, 1–16,Short summary
This article applies a new geochemical dating method to determine the age of sedimentary deposits useful in reconstructing slip rates on a major fault system.
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Cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure dating is commonly used to constrain the timing of past glacier extents. However, Antarctic exposure age datasets are often scattered and difficult to interpret. We compile new and existing exposure ages of a glacial deposit with independently known age constraints and identify surface processes that increase or reduce the likelihood of exposure age scatter. Then we present new data for a previously unmapped and undated older deposit from the same region.
Cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure dating is commonly used to constrain the timing of past...