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The long-term denudation rate of granitic regolith in Qinhuangdao, North China determined from the in situ depth profile of the cosmogenic nuclides 26Al and 10Be


This study quantifies the surface denudation rate of granitic regolith via the application of the in situ cosmogenic 26Al and 10Be depth profile in China. The concentration ranges of 26Al and 10Be in the quartz along the ~3-m granitic regolith profile in Qinhuangdao are (4.9–23.1) × 105 and (2.3–36.6) × 104 atoms/g, respectively. With the exception of the surface sample, both 26Al and 10Be concentrations decrease exponentially with sample depth. The Chi-square best-fitting results revealed a total denudation rate of ~9 m/Ma averaged over a 103–105 a timescale, which is lower than the values observed in global granitic outcrops. Compared with global datasets, the flat terrain due to the lack of tectonic activities is most likely the dominant factor that controls the local denudation process. The surface sample offsets from the theoretical cosmogenic nuclide distribution implies that the denudation rate from river basin sediment could be overestimated because of the bioturbation in the surficial soil layer.

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We are grateful to M. Miguens-Rodriguez, A. Rodés and K. Keefe for helping with the experiments. We thank Fan Bailing and Mao Hairuo for their assistance with sample collection. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41130536, 41210004) and the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (9014).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Congqiang Liu.

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Cui, L., Liu, C., Xu, S. et al. The long-term denudation rate of granitic regolith in Qinhuangdao, North China determined from the in situ depth profile of the cosmogenic nuclides 26Al and 10Be. Chin. Sci. Bull. 59, 4823–4828 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-014-0601-2

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  • Weathering rate
  • Physical erosion
  • Soil erosion
  • Carbon cycle
  • Climate change