However, these results highlight the potential to use TCN methods, when used in combination with other dating techniques, to examine and quantify processes such as sediment transfer and denudation in drylands.
Surface exposure dating using terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides (TCN) is an established and reliable method to date landforms and has been applied for dating glacial advances and retreats, erosion history, lava flows, meteorite impacts, fault scarps, and other geological events.
Using certain cosmogenic radionuclides, scientists can date how long a particular surface has been exposed, how long a certain piece of material has been buried, or how quickly a location or drainage basin is eroding.
The basic principle is that these radionuclides are produced at a known rate, and also decay at a known rate.
With the accuracy of modern instruments general every surface older than about 1000 years can be dated and the uncertainty limits today lie below 10% of the age.
| Using cosmogenic nuclides in glacial geology | Sampling strategies cosmogenic nuclide dating | Difficulties in cosmogenic nuclide dating | Calculating an exposure age | Further Reading | References | Comments | Cosmogenic nuclide dating can be used to determine rates of ice-sheet thinning and recession, the ages of moraines, and the age of glacially eroded bedrock surfaces.
Comparisons of Be TCN ages within sample sets on individual surfaces most closely approximate to the age of landforms that are younger than ~ 70 ka.
Cosmogenic nuclide dating uses the interactions between cosmic rays and nuclides in glacially transported boulders or glacially eroded bedrock to provide age estimates for rock at the Earth’s surface.
It is an excellent way of directly dating glaciated regions.
Surface exposure dating is used to date glacial advances and retreats, erosion history, lava flows, meteorite impacts, rock slides, fault scarps, and other geological events.
It is most useful for rocks which have been exposed for between 10 years and 30,000,000 years.