Chlorine-36 Cosmogenic Isotope Calibration Project in Iceland

Onland extension of the mid-Atlantic ridge at Þingvellir in southwestern Iceland.


Icelandic Fulbright Commission
U.S. Fulbright Commission

Project Summary

This is a work in progress that I started in March 1999 while on a Fulbright scholarship to Iceland.

Ninteen samples were collected from five well-dated lava flow surfaces all around Iceland for a 36Cl cosmogenic isotope calibration study. A high latitude calibration site for 36Cl does not exist, yet is neccesary in order to verify global cosmogenic 36Cl production rate estimates. Iceland was chosen as the study area due to its ubiquitous volcanic rocks, known numerical ages of uncovered and instantaneously exposed surfaces as well as its climatically sensitive position in the North Atlantic Ocean. High resolution records from the North Atlantic Ocean, Norwegian Sea and Greenland Ice Cap have set the stage for detailed work in this part of the world, however, numerically-dated terrestrial warming and cooling events from Iceland are lacking. By analyzing 19 samples from 5 surfaces it will be determined whether 36Cl cosmogenic isotope dating is a viable technique to be used in Iceland on postglacial lava flows, erratics on moraines or marine shorelines. Investigation of potential sites, fieldwork and sample collection was carried out from March-December 1999 with funding from the Fulbright Commission of the United States and Iceland.

Publications resulting from this research

Kong, P., Finkel, R.C., Caffee, M., Gualtieri, L. and Nishiizumi, K. 2000. 10Be in Lava Newly Erupted at Hekla, South Iceland. American Geophysical Union program with Abstracts. San Francisco, California.


The University of Iceland
The Science Institute of Iceland
The Nordic Volcanological Institute