The facility supports in-house research, as well as academic and external services in preparing samples for the measurement of terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides within rock and sediment.
Terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides form in rock minerals exposed in the upper ~2 m of Earth’s surface through interaction with cosmic radiation.
The concentration of cosmogenic nuclides in near surface rocks will increase through time until their production is matched by their losses through physical erosion and radioactive decay. Thus, the concentration of cosmogenic nuclides in rock or sediment is a balance between its exposure time and erosion rate. This knowledge can be applied in a range of settings to quantify dates and rates of Earth surface processes.
Cosmogenic nuclide concentrations are commonly used to determine:
‘exposure ages’ such as glacier erosion, lava flows, buried sediments and flood deposits
‘erosion rates’ such as rock surface erosion rates, land surface degradation rates, river incision rates and fault-slip rates
This facility is designed to make possible the measurement of terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides within rock and sediment. Here, we chemically extract cosmogenic isotopes from rock and sediment and prepare targets ready for measurement by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) or Mass Spectrometry (MS).
The AMS or MS analyses are conducted at the Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre (SUERC) or other collaborative institutions.