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Cosmogenic 3He production rate in the high tropical Andes (3800 m, 20°S): Implications for the local last glacial maximum

Abstract : To improve both precision and accuracy of cosmic-ray exposure dating methods, there is a crucial need of calibration sites constraining the production rate of cosmogenic isotopes. This is particularly true in the high tropical area, where existing scaling models present significant discrepancies. This study presents a new calibration site for cosmogenic He-3, located at 3800 m in the tropical Altiplano (19.9 degrees S, 67.6 degrees W), on the southern flank of the Tunupa volcano, in the vicinity of the Salar de Uyuni. It consists in a fluvio-glacial outwash that is stratigraphically bracketed by two successive lacustrine shorelines. These shorelines are well-dated by C-14 and U-series dating (n = 57), allowing determination of the age of the boulder field at the surface of the delta, at 15.3 +/- 0.5 ka (let). Eleven andesitic boulders were sampled on this fluvio-glacial surface and the cosmogenic He-3 contents of their pyroxene phenocrysts and amphiboles was analyzed. The nucleogenic contribution from Li-6 capture is well-constrained by determining the (U-Th-Sm)/He-4 age of these rocks. This correction is minimal (<2%) and does not represent a significant source of uncertainty. Cosmogenic He-3 (He-c) concentrations are characterized by a very high reproducibility: 10 samples overlap within 10- analytical error. This suggests that pre- or post-deposition processes have minimal impact on the 3Hec data. Furthermore, there is no correlation between the Li and the He-3(c) content of the mineral, indicating that He-3(c) production from cosmogenic thermal neutron is here negligible. Combined with the absolute dating of the delta, these He-3(c) data yield a local production rate of 999 +/- 38 (1 sigma) at g(-1) yr(-1), at 3800 m and 19.89 S. After scaling with the time dependent scaling scheme of (Stone, 2000), this result yields a rate of 121 +/- 5 (1 sigma) at g(-1) yr(-1) at high latitude and sea level. This new calibration is the highest among the existing global dataset It will thus permit the establishment of new robust glacial chronologies in the high Tropics, with an uncertainty lower than 5% at 1 sigma. Such precision may have important implications in paleoclimatology, notably because it will allow comparison with other well-dated paleoclimatic archives. Including this new data, the updated global He-3(c) production rate is 122 +/- 15 at g(-1) yr(-1), using the time-dependent scaling of Stone (2000). The new site-specific He-3(c) production rate is used here to refine glacier fluctuations on Cerro Tunupa, confirming that the local last glacial maximum was synchronous with the Lake Tauca highstand (15.5 ka). Data also suggest that a dramatic glacial retreat occurred at about 15 ka, few hundred years before the Lake Tauca regression, synchronously with the onset of the Bolling-Allerod.
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P.-H. Blard, J. Lavé, F. Sylvestre, C. Placzek, C. Claude, et al.. Cosmogenic 3He production rate in the high tropical Andes (3800 m, 20°S): Implications for the local last glacial maximum. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2013, 377-378, pp.260 - 275. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2013.07.006⟩. ⟨hal-01761912⟩



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