Cosmogenic10Be: A critical view on its widespread dominion in geosciences
The radionuclide10Be (half-life = 1.5my), produced naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere by nuclear interactions of cosmic rays, was sought in ocean sediments in the late fifties, considering its potential usefulness as a radiotracer for dating sediments.10Be was discovered independently by two groups, one in India and the other in the USA, and used only for dating marine sediments and manganese nodules until the seventies. Subsequently, as a result of a technical advance resulting in the improvement in the sensitivity of measurement of10Be by about a factor of 106, there was a global rush to measure this nuclide in most materials participating in the physical, chemical and biological processes in the dynamic geosphere. This paper outlines the reasons for this “isotope rush”, and the lessons learned from these studies. I also present my personal views of the special attractive features of this nuclide on the one hand, and on the other, the pitfalls or the wrong message this nuclide could convey!
Volume 130, 2021
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