Cosmogenic nuclides in buried sediments from the hyperarid Atacama Desert, Chile

Davis, M., Matmon, A., Placzek, C.J., McIntosh, W., Rood, D.H., and Quade, J. (2014) Cosmogenic nuclides in buried sediments from the hyperarid Atacama Desert, Chile. Quaternary Geochronology, 19. pp. 117-126.

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The evolution of Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclides (TCN) from an alluvial section in the Atacama Desert is examined. We reconstruct a burial history for the last ∼10 Ma using ⁴⁰Ar/³⁹Ar dating of volcanic ash layers interbedded with alluvial sediments; this independent dating allows us to distinguish between the effects of erosion, post-burial subsurface production, and radioactive decay during burial on TCN concentrations. Our TCN results show significant post-burial production, which is the result of the extremely slow sedimentation rate (∼3 m/Ma) and the old age of the sediments. Although distinct differences in TCN concentrations are apparent between the lower and upper parts of the sedimentary section, we show that these differences are most likely related to post-burial production and age, and not to changes in bedrock erosion rates or changes in elevation due to tectonic activity. Our approach provides a test to the applicability of the two-isotope cosmogenic burial dating system (²⁶Al-¹⁰Be) in regions of extremely slow sedimentation rates. Our results reveal geomorphic stability in terms of erosion and sedimentation rates for the late Miocene-Pliocene in the Atacama Desert.

Item ID: 28235
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1871-1014
Keywords: Atacama Desert; cosmogenic nuclides; hyperaridity; 26Al-10Be burial dating; 40Ar/39Ar dating
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2013 23:24
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040203 Isotope Geochemistry @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040607 Surface Processes @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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