Articles | Volume 66, issue 2
Research article
20 Dec 2017
Research article |  | 20 Dec 2017

10Be depth profiles in glacial sediments on the Swiss Plateau: deposition age, denudation and (pseudo-) inheritance

Lorenz Wüthrich, Claudio Brändli, Régis Braucher, Heinz Veit, Negar Haghipour, Carla Terrizzano, Marcus Christl, Christian Gnägi, and Roland Zech

Abstract. During the Pleistocene, glaciers advanced repeatedly from the Alps onto the Swiss Plateau. Numeric age control for the last glaciation is good and thus the area is well suited to test a method which has so far not been applied to till in Switzerland. In this study, we apply in situ produced cosmogenic 10Be depth profile dating to several till deposits. Three sites lie inside the assumed Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) extent of the Rhône and Aare glaciers (Bern, Deisswil, Steinhof) and two lie outside (Niederbuchsiten, St. Urban). All sites are strongly affected by denudation, and all sites have reached steady state, i.e., the 10Be production is in equilibrium with radioactive decay and denudational losses. Deposition ages can therefore not be well constrained. Assuming constant denudation rates of 5 cm kyr−1, total denudation on the order of 100 cm for sites within the extent of the LGM and up to tens of meters for older moraines are calculated. Denudation events, for example related to periglacial conditions during the LGM, mitigate the need to invoke such massive denudation and could help to explain high 10Be concentrations at great depths, which we here dub pseudo-inheritance. This term should be used to distinguish conceptionally from true inheritance, i.e., high concentrations derived from the catchment.