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Beryllium dating method

Cosmogenic isotopes are created when elements in the atmosphere or earth are bombarded by high energy particles (-mesons and protons, collectively known as cosmic rays) that penetrate into the atmosphere from outer space.Some cosmic ray particles reach the surface of the earth and contribute to the natural background radiation environment.It was discovered about a decade ago that cosmic ray interaction with silica and oxygen in quartz produced measurable amounts of the isotopes Beryllium-10 and Aluminium-26.

It is an excellent way of directly dating glaciated regions.

This long period of applicability is an added advantage of cosmogenic nuclide dating.

Cartoon illustrating cosmogenic nuclide exposure ages. A glacier transports an erratic boulder, and then recedes, exposing it to cosmic rays.

Our samples are now pre-treated at the University of Canterbury.

Beryllium dating is used to estimate the time a rock has been exposed on the surface of the Earth, as well as erosion and sedimentation rates. Like carbon-14, most of it is formed in the earth’s upper atmosphere.

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