Logo "GFZ German research centre for geo sciences"

Global Sediment Cycles

The quantification of global sediment cycles is an important foundation for understanding how landscapes evolve, and how fast they are changing. We follow the path of sediments from their production in mountains from the process of erosion to their deposition in lowlands where they form fertile soils, and in the oceans where nutrients are released. A central question in our research is how long the sediment is being stored in the lowlands, as it changes its chemical composition while being stored. Cosmogenic nuclides are our main tool to answer these questions. With in situ-produced 10Beryllium (10Be), we measure erosion rates in river sediment, and the combination of meteoric 10Be and its stable counterpart 9Be allows quantifying weathering. Using metal stable isotopes like 7Li/6Li or 30Si/28Si we track the chemical transformations in rivers. Applied on the global scale and in deep time from geological archives of large drainage systems like the Amazon or the Ganga River or in the oceans, globally relevant material turnover rates can be determined.

back to top of main content