Sampling techniques for terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclides

Sample Type

Anyone wishing to use Cosmogenic Nuclides to determine the geological age of a landscape feature or series of features must first appreciate that there is a specific scientific theory attached to this branch of geoscience. It is therefore important that you have at least a basic understanding of the processes involved prior to collecting samples in the field. Please refer to the section Theory & Student learning space to learn more about the Cosmogenic Nuclide processes.

An example of why this is important is well illustrated in the fact that different cosmogenic nuclides are found in different minerals, for example quartz is the mineral that Aluminium and Berrylium nuclides are found in. If you are interested in using this technique (Al/Be), then you will want to focus on sampling rocks that will hopefully contain quartz.


Below is a brief outline of the basic considerations you may wish to take into account before sampling; the best practice techniques for sampling; the actual process of how to sample for Cosmogenic Nuclides itself; and tips on what pitfalls to avoid.