Hillslope lowering rates and mobile-regolith residence times from in situ and meteoric 10Be analysis: Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory, Colorado

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 10:35 AM
Melissa A Foster1, Robert S Anderson1, Cianna Wyshnytzky2, William B Ouimet3 and David P Dethier4, (1)Department of Geological Sciences and INSTAAR, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, United States, (2)Queen Mary University of London, School of Geography, London, United Kingdom, (3)University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, United States, (4)Williams College, Williamstown, MA, United States
Mobile regolith is produced as weathered saprolite is entrained into the mobile layer. The rate of mobile-regolith production and its residence time on hillslopes shapes the topography and evolution of hillslopes. We calculate the production rate of mobile regolith and the mobile-regolith residence times on active hillslopes in Gordon Gulch, within the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory (CZO), Colorado. We find mobile-regolith production rates (average 3.1 cm/ka) and residence times (average 10-20 ka) derived from both in situand meteoric methods agree. Lowering-rates derived from our study are also comparable to basin-averaged denudation rates for small basins in the Colorado Front Range (Dethier and Lazarus, 2006).

In this study, we have measured both in situ and meteoric 10Be in saprolite and mobile regolith separately. We find that, on average, two-thirds of in situ 10Be is produced within saprolite, and that at least one-tenth of the meteoric 10Be inventories are stored in saprolite. In the case of in situ 10Be, this simply reflects the exponential fall-off in production rates through a thin mobile-regolith cover. In the case of meteoric 10Be, our calculations suggest that >40% of the meteoric 10Be deposition occurs within the saprolite. Most studies that utilize 10Be report residence times and soil-production rates based on concentrations in either the mobile regolith or saprolite; therefore, our 10Be data highlight the importance of clearly identifying mobile and immobile portions of the regolith, constraining its 10Be inventory, and use of consistent terminology for the mobile-layer.