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Collaborative Research: Multi-nuclide approach to systematically evaluate the scatter in surface exposure ages in Antarctica and to develop consistent alpine glacier chronologies

The larger project investigates the impact of earth surface processes on the application of cosmogenic exposure dating in Antarctica. The study analyzes cosmogenic-nuclide inventories for a suite of six alpine-moraine systems in inland regions of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. This area is ideally suited for this study because 1) the targeted alpine moraine sequences are critically important in helping to reconstruct past temperature and precipitation values over the last several million years, 2) the production rates for cosmogenic nuclides are typically high and well-known, and 3) the complexity of surface processes is relatively low. Our particular work has one ancillary goal: to evaluate the effects of episodic geomorphic events in modulating cosmogenic inventories in surface rocks in the Dry Valleys. A key objective is to produce a unique sampling strategy that yields consistent exposure-age results by minimizing the effects of episodic geomorphic events that obfuscate cosmogenic-nuclide chronologies. Ultimately, the moraine chronology will be linked to with regional-scale atmospheric models developed by collaborators at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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