Abstract

Quartz sand in the eastern Mediterranean coastal plain is supplied through an extended transport system, which includes the Nile River, east Mediterranean longshore currents, and inland eolian transport. While the concentrations of cosmogenic nuclides (26Al and 10Be), and their ratio, in modern sand deposited along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean reflect the combined effect of exposure and burial during transport, the concentrations of these nuclides in buried sands are the result of decay of this initial dosing. Samples of modern exposed sand (n = 3) collected from the coastal plain of Israel yield an average 26Al/10Be ratio of 4.8 ± 0.2, significantly lower than the expected ratio of 6.8 for exposed quartz grains at the surface. A similar ratio of 4.5 ± 0.3 was measured in a late Pleistocene sand sample, indicating similar exposure-burial histories during transport in spite of the difference in climatic conditions. The results imply a steady, preburial cosmogenic nuclide ratio related to the Nile River's ability, through storage and recycling, to buffer the effects of climatic and tectonic perturbations on cosmogenic nuclide concentrations in the transported quartz. All ancient and buried sand samples (n = 11) fall on a decay path that originates from the concentrations and ratio of 26Al and 10Be in modern sand, suggesting steady preburial concentrations of cosmogenic nuclides in quartz sand over the past 2.5 m.y.

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