Cosmogenic nuclide dating

Radiocarbon dating is abundantly used and offers very high precision dates, but we often want to date an event that is either too far in the past, or without the right type of organic matter, to be dated by C.

While there is a slew of other dating techniques to choose from, cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating is useful for relatively young (~100 to 10 million years old) samples.

Super high energy particles—mostly protons— are produced by our Sun, supernovae, and probably other extraterrestrial sources.

These particles continuously enter the Earth system at incredible rates and are often, but misleadingly, called cosmic rays.

The intensity at which cosmic rays collide with the Earth’s atmosphere varies.

The first interaction is when the high energy particles collide with nuclei in the upper atmosphere. A spallation reaction is a nuclear reaction where a highly energetic nucleon (usually a secondary cosmic-ray neutron of energy) collides with a target nucleus.

If we are particularly interested in the timing of the uncovering of a surface—say, bedrock that had been covered by ice, or sediments that had been revealed by the incision of a stream—we can employ cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure dating to study that uncovering process.

This is different from techniques (like Ar, or U/Th) that date the formation of a rock itself.

A muon is about 2/3rds of the size of a proton or a neutron.

They are unstable, lasting only a few hundredths of a microsecond.


  1. What are cosmogenic nuclides? Cosmogenic nuclides are isotopes that are produced by interaction of cosmic rays with the nucleus of the atom. The cosmogenic nuclides.

  2. Cosmogenic-nuclide dating of rocks near the ice margins in these regions can determine. Cosmogenic-nuclide geochronology of glaciated survaces in the upper Dry.

  3. Established 10Be/26Al nuclide pair allows numerical dating of quartz bearing material from ~100 ka to. Sediment burial dating using terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides.

  4. Principles of Surface-Exposure Dating with Cosmogenic. cosmogenic nuclide build-up is not always simple, nor is it necessarily fully understood or refined.

  5. This post is about elevation measurements for exposure-dating samples, and how accurate they need to be. Basically, the main thing that controls cosmogenic-nuclide.

  6. Cosmic rays are an essential part of cosmogenic nuclide dating. But what are they, and where do they come from?

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