Cosmogenic Nuclide Lab, Quaternary Research Center, Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington
Data Center Description
The Cosmogenic Nuclide Lab at the University of Washington provides an overview of cosmogenic isotope research and as a repository for data generated by the group, descriptions of our lab procedures, technical information and calculation methods.
High-energy cosmic rays shower the Earth's surface, penetrating meters into rock and producing long-lived radionuclides such as Cl-36, Al-26 and Be-10. Production rates are almost unimaginably small - a few atoms per gram of rock per year - yet we can detect and count these "cosmogenic isotopes" using accelerator mass spectrometry, down to levels of a few thousand atoms per gram (parts per billion of parts per billion!). The build-up of cosmogenic isotopes through time provides us with a way to measure exposure ages for rock surfaces such as fault scarps, lava flows and glacial pavements. Where surfaces are gradually evolving, cosmogenic isotope measurements allow us to calculate erosion or soil accumulation rates.
[Summary provided by the University of Washington.]