Surface Dating of Dynamic Landforms: Young Boulders on Aging Moraines

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  12 Aug 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5174, pp. 937-940
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5174.937


The dating of landforms is crucial to understanding the evolution, history, and stability of landscapes. Cosmogenic isotope analysis has recently been used to determine quantitative exposure ages for previously undatable landform surfaces. A pioneering application of this technique to date moraines illustrated its considerable potential but suggested a chronology partially inconsistent with existing geological data. Consideration of the dynamic nature of landforms and of the ever-present processes of erosion, deposition, and weathering leads to a resolution of this inconsistency and, more generally, offers guidance for realistic interpretation of exposure ages.