Cosmogenic Nuclide Group

Erratic Boulder with Mt. Cook in the background, New Zealand's Southern Alps

Humans live on the earth’s surface and Earth Surface Processes (ESP) are cornerstones defining fundamental boundaries for civilization. Many of these processes occur so rapidly and unexpectedly that they have daunting consequences. We are poorly equipped to predict their nature and possible impacts due to the lack of scientific understanding. In particular, the impact of current environmental change on the nature of Earth Surface Processes is hardly predictable. It is a high priority challenge for modern earth sciences to better understand such processes. One of the most promising approaches to this task is the quantitative investigation of ESP from the past to the present, and to apply the insight to current and future environmental challenges. The leading technique to realize this is the application of terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide.

The LDEO Cosmogenic Nuclide Group develops terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide techniques and applies those as chronometers and tracers in the Earth Sciences. Terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides are produced by interactions between secondary cosmic rays and near surface rocks. Our research interests cover a wide spectrum of earth scientific disciplines and include timing of ice ages, subglacial erosion rates, uplift rates of Pleistocene terraces, and a better understanding of the production systematics of cosmogenic nuclides. We apply the full spectrum of cosmogenic nuclides, including the routine extraction of 10Be, 26Al, and 36Cl. In cooperation with the LDEO noble gas group (Gisela Winckler, link), we also routinely measure cosmogenic 3He. Recently, we have pioneered the terrestrial 53Mn technique as new monitor of earth surface processes, and we also have established an extraction line for in situ 14C from quartz (LINK TO 14C LINE).