Further constraint of the in situ cosmogenic 10Be production rate in pyroxene and a viability test for late Quaternary exposure dating

Shaun R. Eaves*, Julia A. Collins, R. Selwyn Jones, Kevin P. Norton, Stephen G. Tims, Andrew N. Mackintosh

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Beryllium-10 (10Be) in quartz represents the most common in situ cosmogenic nuclide used for quantifying Earth-surface processes, primarily due to the prevalence of quartz in the Earth's crust. However many landscapes lack quartz-bearing rocks, thus other nuclide-mineral pairs are required for geochronometric and geomorphic applications. Here we describe the successful isolation and measurement of in situ 10Be concentrations in pyroxene from two mafic sample sets: (i) andesite boulders of the Murimotu Formation debris avalanche on Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand, and (ii) dolerite cobbles deposited in a ∼100 m vertical transect at Mt. Gran by Mackay Glacier, Antarctica. Precise radiocarbon age constraint of the New Zealand site provides further geological constraint of the reference (at sea level and high latitude) 10Be production rate in pyroxene, which we find to be indistinguishable from a previous estimate. Combining our results with previous data yields a reference production rate of 3.2 ± 0.8 at. g−1 yr−1 (n=5; ‘Lm’ scaling). Application of this rate to the glacial cobbles at Mackay Glacier yields a relatively coherent chronology of ice surface lowering between ∼14 and 6 ka, which is broadly consistent with a well-constrained quartz-based 10Be chronology from nearby nunataks. Improving the viability of in situ 10Be for geological applications in mafic domains requires increased analytical precision beyond current levels. This improvement may be best achieved by further modification of the quartz-based methodologies for 10Be purification, in order to better handle the high cationic contaminant loads of ferromagnesian minerals. In addition, further 10Be measurements from suitable mafic sedimentary deposits with independent age control (e.g. existing cosmogenic 3He calibration sites) will help to refine estimates of the reference production rate.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-132
    Number of pages12
    JournalQuaternary Geochronology
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


    Dive into the research topics of 'Further constraint of the in situ cosmogenic 10Be production rate in pyroxene and a viability test for late Quaternary exposure dating'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this