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Cosmogenic isotopes are created when elements in the atmosphere or earth are bombarded by high energy particles (-mesons and protons, collectively known as cosmic rays) that penetrate into the atmosphere from outer space.
Some cosmic ray particles reach the surface of the earth and contribute to the natural background radiation environment.
Using cosmogenic isotopic analyses of less than two dozen samples, Mackintosh et al. 551–554]) lift the veil of suspicion that has hung over the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.
No longer should it be considered a major player in postglacial sea-level rise.
In practice, we are not going to be able to tell the difference between a rock which has reached 99.9% of this maximum and one which has reached 99.99%.
Consequently, the practical limit for the use of cosmogenic surface dating seems to be about 10 million years; after that, one old rock looks much like another.
Surface exposure age dating requires intensive chemistry.
Our samples are now pre-treated at the University of Canterbury.
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