Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide Geochronology Data Reporting Standards Needed
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
©2010. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 91, Issue 4, pages 31–32, 26 January 2010
How to Cite
2010), Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide Geochronology Data Reporting Standards Needed, Eos Trans. AGU, 91(4), 31–32, doi:10.1029/2010EO040003., , and (
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
- cosmogenic nuclides;
- 10Be 26Al
Scientists can estimate the time at which rocks at Earth's surface became exposed (through glacial scour, faulting, sediment deposition, exhumation, etc.) in a given area using terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) geochronology. The idea behind this technique is ingenious in its simplicity. Imagine, for example, a glacier advancing over the landscape and scouring the rocks underneath. As the glacier retreats, fresh rock surfaces become exposed to the atmosphere. Galactic cosmic rays then bombard the fresh minerals exposed at the Earth's surface, producing rare nuclides such as beryllium-10 (10Be) and aluminum-26 (26Al) in the process. Thus, measuring the concentration of TCNs in rocks at the Earth's surface allows scientists to estimate how long a surface has been exposed and/or the rate of surface denudation.