Unraveling complex exposure-burial histories of bedrock surfaces under ice sheets by integrating cosmogenic nuclide concentrations with climate proxy records

Li, Y., Fabel, D. , Stroeven, A.P. and Harbor, J. (2008) Unraveling complex exposure-burial histories of bedrock surfaces under ice sheets by integrating cosmogenic nuclide concentrations with climate proxy records. Geomorphology, 99(1-4), pp. 139-149. (doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2007.10.010)

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Abstract

The production, accumulation, and decay of cosmogenic radionuclides in rock surfaces subjected to episodes of exposure and burial by ice results in nuclide concentrations in present day rock surfaces that can be used to address a variety of questions in glacial geomorphology and Quaternary geology. Of particular importance is the fact that these nuclide concentrations reflect both the timing of initial exposure of the rock surface and the chronology of subsequent exposure, burial, and erosion episodes. For landscapes where geomorphic evidence indicates that little/no erosion occurred, constraining the timing of initial exposure and the number of phases of exposure and burial that a rock surface has been subjected to is possible using multiple cosmogenic radionuclide concentrations combined with proxies for the timing and duration of periods of ice cover, such as ice core or marine isotope records. However, interpretations based on this approach require determination of an appropriate cutoff value to separate the proxy record into ice-free and ice-covered conditions and assessment of the sensitivity of the results to different cutoff values. We have developed a numerical model to evaluate variations in total exposure and burial durations as a function of different proxy records and cutoff values. This program is available at http://www.missouri.edu/~liyk/ClimateProxyCurve.zip. Initial results for sites in West Antarctica and northern Sweden show that the method provides a quick and robust way to derive best-fit cutoff values and chronologies of burial and exposure, and small changes in cutoff values can result in significant shifts in results. The method described here provides new insight into the interpretation and reliability of multiple nuclide samples. This approach also has the potential to provide improved constraints for ice sheet dynamics and landscape evolution, and a means to assess the sensitivity of calculated initial exposure dates to assumptions about ice sheet history.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fabel, Dr Derek
Authors: Li, Y., Fabel, D., Stroeven, A.P., and Harbor, J.
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Geomorphology
ISSN:0169-555X
ISSN (Online):1872-695X
Published Online:27 October 2007

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