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230Th/U dating of a late Pleistocene alluvial fan along the southern San Andreas fault

January 1, 2010

U-series dating of pedogenic carbonate-clast coatings provides a reliable, precise minimum age of 45.1 ± 0.6 ka (2σ) for the T2 geomorphic surface of the Biskra Palms alluvial fan, Coachella Valley, California. Concordant ages for multiple subsamples from individual carbonate coatings provide evidence that the 238U-234U-230Th system has remained closed since carbonate formation. The U-series minimum age is used to assess previously published 10Be exposure ages of cobbles and boulders. All but one cobble age and some boulder 10Be ages are younger than the U-series minimum age, indicating that surface cobbles and some boulders were partially shielded after deposition of the fan and have been subsequently exhumed by erosion of fine-grained matrix to expose them on the present fan surface. A comparison of U-series and 10Be ages indicates that the interval between final alluvial deposition on the T2 fan surface and accumulation of dateable carbonate is not well resolved at Biskra Palms; however, the “time lag” inherent to dating via U-series on pedogenic carbonate can be no larger than ∼10 k.y., the uncertainty of the 10Be-derived age of the T2 fan surface. Dating of the T2 fan surface via U-series on pedogenic carbonate (minimum age, 45.1 ± 0.6 ka) and 10Be on boulder-top samples using forward modeling (preferred age, 50 ± 5 ka) provides broadly consistent constraints on the age of the fan surface and helps to elucidate its postdepositional development.

Publication Year 2010
Title 230Th/U dating of a late Pleistocene alluvial fan along the southern San Andreas fault
DOI 10.1130/B30018.1
Authors Kathryn E.K. Fletcher, Warren D. Sharp, Katherine J. Kendrick, Whitney M. Behr, Kenneth W. Hudnut, Thomas C. Hanks
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title GSA Bulletin
Index ID 70042314
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center