Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Cosmogenic Radionuclide Dating

Absolute radiometric dating technique based on the fact that unstable molecules are constantly produced in quartz crystals located on the earth’s surface by exposure to atmospheric cosmic rays; if the quartz is suddenly buried at depths greater than 20 m this production ceases. Useful molecules produced in this way include 26Al (aluminum-26) and 10Be (beryllium-10) with known rates of decay.

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