Acta Geochimica

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 310–322 | Cite as

The use of in-situ cosmogenic 21Ne in studies on long-term landscape development

  • Yan Ma
  • Finlay M. Stuart
Original Article


Cosmogenic Ne isotopes are stable and are routinely used for constraining the timing of events and the rate of surface change beyond the limit that can be studied with radionuclides 10Be, 26Al, and 36Cl. Cosmogenic Ne analysis can be used in quartz and in a range of other minerals. Analysis typically requires significantly less material than do cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al, opening up the technique for small samples—individual pebbles in river sediments, for example. Analysis is easier and faster than for radionuclides, not least because Ne measurements do not require significant chemical procedures. However, the presence of other sources of Ne in minerals tends to restrict the use of cosmogenic 21Ne to old landscapes and long exposure durations. In this review we briefly outline the background of cosmogenic Ne production in rocks and minerals at the Earth’s surface, then document the key uses of the technique by highlighting some earlier studies, and finish with a short perspective on the future of the technique.


Cosmogenic nuclides 21Ne Long timescale Landscape evolution 



This work was supported by the basic scientific research fund, Institute of Geology, China Earthquake Administration (Grant Nos. IGCEA1504 and IGCEA1417), and the authors express their thanks for China Scholarship Council (CSC) who have sponsored the first author’s visit in Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Geochemistry, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Earthquake Dynamics, Institute of GeologyChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.Isotope Geosciences Unit, Scottish Universities Environmental Research CentreScottish Enterprise Technology ParkEast KilbrideUK

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