Tracking paraglacial sediment with cosmogenic 10Be using an example from the northwest Scottish Highlands

Michelle L. Fame, Lewis A. Owen, James A. Spotila, Jason M. Dortch, Marc W. Caffee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Beryllium-10 concentrations in samples of sediment and bedrock from five study sites across the Scottish Highlands trace paraglacial sediment sources and define the nature of glacial erosion for the late Quaternary. Exposure ages derived from 10Be concentrations in ridge and lower elevation bedrock range from 10 to 33 ka, which suggest that polythermal ice and warm based ice were primarily responsible for producing glacial sediment. Comparisons of 10Be concentrations between catchment-wide sediment (2.06 ± 0.34 × 104 to 11.24 ± 1.54 × 104 atoms g−1 SiO2; n = 33), near surface deposits (2.71 ± 0.33 × 104 to 3.48 ± 0.49 × 104 atoms g−1 SiO2; n = 6), 4-m-thick deep till (0.68 × 104 10Be atoms g−1 SiO2; n = 1), ridge bedrock (8.93 ± 0.47 × 104 to 34.05 ± 1.66 × 104 atoms g−1 SiO2; n = 20), and lower elevation polished bedrock (6.74 ± 0.67 × 104 to 12.65 ± 0.7 × 104 atoms g−1 SiO2, n = 5) indicate that most sand fluxing through catchments in the Scottish Highlands is sourced from the remobilization and vertical mixing of near surface deposits. These findings indicate that glaciogenic material continues to dominate paraglacial sediment budgets more than 11 ka after deglaciation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-36
Number of pages17
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - Feb 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for helpful discussion of ideas and assistance with lab work from S. Hammer, J. Arkle, J. Valentino, L. Orr, W. Cochran, C. Mason and G. Balco. Thanks to P. Bierman and S. Brocklehurst for insightful reviews of previous versions of this manuscript. This study was funded by NSF grants Geomorphology EAR-1123688/1123643 . MWC acknowledges support from NSF grant EAR-1153689 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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