Cosmogenic Dating Group

PIs: Joerg M. Schaefer, Michael Kaplan

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 10 Be, 26 Al, and 36 Cl. In cooperation with Gisela Winkler and the LDEO Noble Gas Group. We also routinely measure cosmogenic 3 He. 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 14 C from quartz.


A 3-dimensional model of the Mont Fort and Sivier glacier system, showing well-preserved 'Egesen' and 'pre-Egesen' moraine systems that are studied to understand the glacier and climate changes during the Late Glacial Period (14.5 - 11 ka ago) in the Swiss Alps. Similar drone-imagery based 3-dimensional reconstructions in the Alps and Arctic Norway and beyond are in preparation by PhD candidate Josh Maurer:

Josh Maurer
Carly Peltier