Abstract

10Be and 26Al concentrations measured by accelerator mass spectrometry in 20 samples of quartz separated from rhyolitic volcanic ash-flow tuffs collected on the Pajarito plateau of the Valles caldera, New Mexico, were used to model time-integrated erosion rates and cosmic ray-exposure histories. The model erosion rates determined for different stratigraphic units within the Tshirege member, upper Bandelier Tuff, vary from 0.1 cm/ka for the resistant unit to 1.1 cm/ka for the softer unit. Intermediate erosion rates are thought to indicate earlier age cover by post-tuff lithologies of different hardness. The geographic distribution of these intermediate rates allows an approximate determination of the extent of material now gone (stratigraphic ghosts). Periods of burial can be determined from 26Al/10Be ratios. For the Pajarito plateau, burial most likely resulted from cover by soil and sediment held in place by vegetation. Our data allow us to model the duration and extent of thick forest cover, which today exists only at higher altitudes.

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