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https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2017-30
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
30 May 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
Determination limits for cosmogenic 10Be and their importance for geomorphic applications
Sara Savi1, Stefanie Tofelde1,2, Hella Wittmann2, Fabiana Castino1, and Taylor Schildgen1,2 1Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Potsdam, Karl - Liebknecht - Str. 24, Haus 27, 14476 Potsdam - Golm, Germany
2Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
Abstract. When using cosmogenic nuclides to determine exposure ages or denudation rates in rapidly evolving landscapes, challenges arise related to the small number of nuclides that have accumulated in surface materials. Improvements in accelerator mass spectrometry have enabled analysis of samples with low 10Be content (< 105 atoms), such that it is timely to discuss how technical limits of nuclide determination, effects of laboratory cleanliness, and overall sample preparation quality affect lower blank limits. Here we describe an approach that defines a lower threshold above which samples with low 10Be content can be statistically distinguished from laboratory blanks. In general, this threshold depends on the chosen confidence interval. In detail, however, we show that depending on which ensemble of blank values and which approach is chosen for the calculation of this threshold, significant differences can arise with respect to when a sample can be distinguished from a blank. This in turn dictates whether the sample can be used to determine an exposure age or a denudation rate, or when it only constrains a maximum age or a minimum denudation rate. Based on a dataset of 57 samples and 61 blank measurements obtained in one laboratory, we demonstrate how these different approaches may influence the interpretation of the data.

Citation: Savi, S., Tofelde, S., Wittmann, H., Castino, F., and Schildgen, T.: Determination limits for cosmogenic 10Be and their importance for geomorphic applications, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2017-30, in review, 2017.
Sara Savi et al.
Sara Savi et al.

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Short summary
When using cosmogenic nuclides to determine exposure ages or denudation rates in rapidly evolving landscapes, challenges arise related to the small number of nuclides that have accumulated in surface materials. Here we describe an approach that defines a lower threshold above which samples with low 10Be content can be statistically distinguished from laboratory blanks. This in turn dictates the meaning and reliability of the samples and their possible use.
When using cosmogenic nuclides to determine exposure ages or denudation rates in rapidly...
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