Boulder cosmogenic exposure ages as constraints for glacial chronologies
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Cosmogenic exposure dating has greatly enhanced our ability to define glacial chronologies spanning several global cold periods, and glacial boulder exposure ages are now routinely used to constrain deglaciation ages. However, exposure dating involves assumptions about the geological history of the sample that are difficult to test and yet may have a profound effect on the inferred age. Two principal geological factors yield erroneous inferred ages: exposure prior to glaciation (yielding exposure ages that are too old) and post-glacial shielding (yielding exposure ages that are too young). Here we show that post-glacial shielding is more important than prior exposure, using datasets of glacial boulder 10Be exposure ages from the Tibetan Plateau (1123 boulders), Northern Hemisphere palaeo-ice sheets (615 boulders), and present-day glaciers (186 boulders). No boulders from present-day glaciers and very few boulders from the palaeo-ice sheets have exposure ages significantly older than independently known deglaciation ages, indicating that prior exposure is of limited significance. Further, the exposure age distribution of boulders from the Tibetan Plateau agrees with the distribution produced by a simple post-glacial landform degradation model, indicating that post-glacial shielding is important. The large global dataset demonstrates that, in the absence of other evidence, glacial boulder exposure ages should be viewed as minimum limiting deglaciation ages.
cosmogenic nuclides, exposure age interpretation, cosmogenic inheritance, post-glacial shielding, glacial chronology, deglaciation
Physical Geography Geology
Research subject Physical Geography; Quarternary Geology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38686OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-38686DiVA: diva2:312532