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10Be: Recent Applications in Earth Sciences [and Discussion]

L. Brown and P. Damon
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Vol. 323, No. 1569, Ultra-High-Sensitivity Mass Spectrometry with Accelerators (Aug. 25, 1987), pp. 75-86
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/38002
Page Count: 12
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10Be: Recent Applications in Earth Sciences [and Discussion]
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Abstract

10Be, a cosmogenic isotope produced by cosmic rays interacting with the Earth's atmosphere and surface, has chemical and physical properties that make it useful as a tracer for some terrestrial processes and a geological clock for a few substances. The rarity of the stable isotope, 9Be, allows 10Be to be detected in natural materials at extremely low levels with backgrounds for rocks, sediments etc. below 105 atom g-1 now attainable, a value to be compared with an average annual global deposition rate of 1.3 × 106 atom cm-2. The affinity of Be for the components of soil and sediment is sufficiently high that its contact with them effectively immobilizes it, thereby allowing 10Be to function as a tracer of sediment transport. The half-life of 1.5 Ma is convenient for some geological studies. Application has been found in cosmic-ray history, formation of manganese nodules, pelagic sedimentation, island-arc volcanism, soil evolution, soil erosion and rock weathering.

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