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Deriving basin-wide erosion/denudation rates of basaltic rocks using cosmogenic Kr isotopes, vulcanic complex Vogelsberg, Germany

The Vogelsberg area located in Hessen, Germany, comprises the largest contiguous volcanic complex in Central Europe, covering an area of about 2300 km². After volcanic activity ceased during the Mid Miocene, the complex was subject to extensive erosion and weathering. Fluvial erosion has shaped the area, which is now characterised by Pleistocene valleys and a radial river system exposing primitive alkali basalts and basanites. The inference of time-integrated erosion rates from regularly measured cosmogenic nuclides (e.g. 10Be, 26Al) remains challenging in such an environment due to the apparent mafic and thus quartz-poor composition of the local bedrock. However, the application of cosmogenic Kr isotopes on the weathering-resistant mineral zircon provides a novel tool to infer basin-wide denudation rates from quartz-poor lithologies. In our project, we aim to exploit the advantage of the applications of Kr and sample zircons from sediments of six streams radially draining the Vogelsberg. After zircon purification, these samples will be measured at the Cologne Noble Gas Mass Spectrometer to quantify Kr concentrations in these samples and to assess the time-integrated erosion patterns shaping the volcanic complex.


Sabrina Niemeyer1, Joel Mohren1, Tibor J. Dunai1
1University of Cologne, Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, Germany
GeoMinKöln 2022
Vogelsberg, Hessen, Germany