Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 355–362 | Cite as

Determining topographic shielding from digital elevation models for cosmogenic nuclide analysis: a GIS approach and field validation

  • Ying-kui LiEmail author


Topographic shielding of cosmic radiation flux is a key parameter in using cosmogenic nuclides to determine surface exposure ages or erosion rates. Traditionally, this parameter is measured in the field and uncertainty and/or inconsistency may exist among different investigators. This paper provides an ArcGIS python code to determine topographic shielding factors using digital elevation models (DEMs). This code can be imported into ArcGIS as a geoprocessing tool with a user-friendly graphical interface. The DEM-derived parameters using this method were validated with field measurements in central Tian Shan. Results indicate that DEM-derived shielding factors are consistent with field-measured values. It provides a valuable tool to save fieldwork efforts and has the potential to provide consistent results for different regions in the world to facilitate the comparison of cosmogenic nuclide results.


Cosmogenic nuclides Topographic shielding ArcGIS Python Digital elevation models (DEMs) 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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