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It is particularly useful in Antarctica[1], because of a number of factors[2]: Cosmogenic nuclide dating is effective over short to long timescales (1,000-10,000,000 years), depending on which isotope you are dating.Different isotopes are used for different lengths of times.For a rock to be suitable for cosmogenic nuclide dating, quartz must occur in the rock in sufficient quantities and in the sufficient size fraction.A general rule of thumb is that you should be able to see the quartz crystals with the naked eye.Granite and sandstone boulders are frequently used in cosmogenic nuclide dating, as they have large amounts of quartz, which yields Beryllium-10, a cosmogenic nuclide ideal for dating glacial fluctuations over Quaternary timescales.Beryllium-10 (Be) does not occur naturally in quartz, and once it forms following spallation it becomes trapped by quartz’s regular crystal lattice.When it reaches the terminus of the glacier, the boulder will be deposited.Glacial geologists are often interested in dating the maximum extents of glaciers or rates of recession, and so will look for boulders deposited on moraines.

However, this can be difficult, as thermal boundaries within the ice sheet may mean that it is more erosive lower down than higher up, and that cold, non-erosive ice on the tops of mountains may leave in tact older landscapes.Several factors can affect cosmogenic nuclide dating: rock type, attenuation of cosmic rays, topographic shielding, post-depositional movement, and burial and cover by snow, vegetation or earth.Geologists must ensure that they choose an appropriate rock.This is important for glacial geologists, as it means that surfaces that have had repeated glaciations with repeated periods of exposure to cosmic rays can still be dated, as long as they have had sufficient glacial erosion to remove any inherited signal.Glacial geologists use this phenomenon to date glacial landforms, such as erratics or glacially transported boulders on moraines[7] or glacially eroded bedrock.

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