Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 7461d.rood




4.43Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

124 results found

Shadrick J, Rood D, Hurst M, Piggott M, Wilcken K, Seal Aet al., 2023, Constraints on long-term cliff retreat and intertidal weathering at weak rock coasts using cosmogenic ¹⁰Be, nearshore topography and numerical modelling, Earth Surface Dynamics, Vol: 11, Pages: 429-450, ISSN: 2196-6311

The white chalk cliffs on the south coast of England are one of the most iconic coastlines in the world. Rock coasts located in a weak lithology, such as chalk, are likely to be most vulnerable to climate-change-triggered accelerations in cliff retreat rates. In order to make future forecasts of cliff retreat rates as a response to climate change, we need to look beyond individual erosion events to quantify the long-term trends in cliff retreat rates. Exposure dating of shore platforms using cosmogenic radionuclide analysis and numerical modelling allows us to study past cliff retreat rates across the Late Holocene for these chalk coastlines. Here, we conduct a multi-objective optimisation of a coastal evolution model to both high-precision topographic data and 10Be concentrations at four chalk rock coast sites to reveal a link between cliff retreat rates and the rate of sea-level rise. Furthermore, our results strengthen evidence for a recent acceleration in cliff retreat rates at the chalk cliffs on the south coast of England. Our optimised model results suggest that the relatively rapid historical cliff retreat rates observed at these sites spanning the last 150 years last occurred between 5300 and 6800 years ago when the rate of relative sea-level rise was a factor of 5–9 times more rapid than during the recent observable record. However, results for these chalk sites also indicate that current process-based models of rock coast development are overlooking key processes that were not previously identified at sandstone rock coast sites. Interpretation of results suggest that beaches, cliff debris and heterogenous lithology play an important but poorly understood role in the long-term evolution of these chalk rock coast sites. Despite these limitations, our results reveal significant differences in intertidal weathering rates between sandstone and chalk rock coast sites, which helps to inform the long-standing debate of “wave versus weathering” a

Journal article

Rood AH, Rood DH, Balco G, Stafford PJ, Ludwig LG, Kendrick KJ, Wilcken KMet al., 2022, Validation of earthquake ground-motion models in southern California, USA, using precariously balanced rocks, GSA Bulletin, Pages: 1-21, ISSN: 0016-7606

Accurate estimates of earthquake ground shaking rely on uncertain ground-motion models derived from limited instrumental recordings of historical earthquakes. A critical issue is that there is currently no method to empirically validate the resultant ground-motion estimates of these models at the timescale of rare, large earthquakes; this lack of validation causes great uncertainty in ground-motion estimates. Here, we address this issue and validate ground-motion estimates for southern California utilizing the unexceeded ground motions recorded by 20 precariously balanced rocks. We used cosmogenic 10Be exposure dating to model the age of the precariously balanced rocks, which ranged from ca. 1 ka to ca. 50 ka, and calculated their probability of toppling at different ground-motion levels. With this rock data, we then validated the earthquake ground motions estimated by the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, Version 3 (UCERF3) seismic-source characterization and the Next Generation Attenuation (NGA)-West2 ground-motion models. We found that no ground-motion model estimated levels of earthquake ground shaking consistent with the observed continued existence of all 20 precariously balanced rocks. The ground-motion model I14 estimated ground-motion levels that were inconsistent with the most rocks; therefore, I14 was invalidated and removed. At a 2475 year mean return period, the removal of this invalid ground-motion model resulted in a 2−7% reduction in the mean and a 10−36% reduction in the 5th−95th fractile uncertainty of the ground-motion estimates. Our findings demonstrate the value of empirical data from precariously balanced rocks as a validation tool for removing invalid ground-motion models and, in turn, reducing the uncertainty in earthquake ground-motion estimates.

Journal article

Adams JR, Johnson JS, Roberts SJ, Mason PJ, Nichols KA, Venturelli RA, Wilcken K, Balco G, Goehring B, Hall B, Woodward J, Rood DHet al., 2022, New Be-10 exposure ages improve Holocene ice sheet thinning history near the grounding line of Pope Glacier, Antarctica, The Cryosphere, Vol: 16, Pages: 4887-4905, ISSN: 1994-0416

Evidence for the timing and pace of past grounding line retreat of the Thwaites Glacier system in the Amundsen Sea embayment (ASE) of Antarctica provides constraints for models that are used to predict the future trajectory of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Existing cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure ages suggest that Pope Glacier, a former tributary of Thwaites Glacier, experienced rapid thinning in the early to mid-Holocene. There are relatively few exposure ages from the lower ice-free sections of Mt. Murphy (<300 m a.s.l.; metres above sea level) that are uncomplicated by either nuclide inheritance or scatter due to localised topographic complexities; this makes the trajectory for the latter stages of deglaciation uncertain. This paper presents 12 new 10Be exposure ages from erratic cobbles collected from the western flank of Mt. Murphy, within 160 m of the modern ice surface and 1 km from the present grounding line. The ages comprise two tightly clustered populations with mean deglaciation ages of 7.1 ± 0.1 and 6.4 ± 0.1 ka (1 SE). Linear regression analysis applied to the age–elevation array of all available exposure ages from Mt. Murphy indicates that the median rate of thinning of Pope Glacier was 0.27 m yr−1 between 8.1–6.3 ka, occurring 1.5 times faster than previously thought. Furthermore, this analysis better constrains the uncertainty (95 % confidence interval) in the timing of deglaciation at the base of the Mt. Murphy vertical profile (∼ 80 m above the modern ice surface), shifting it to earlier in the Holocene (from 5.2 ± 0.7 to 6.3 ± 0.4 ka). Taken together, the results presented here suggest that early- to mid-Holocene thinning of Pope Glacier occurred over a shorter interval than previously assumed and permit a longer duration over which subseq

Journal article

Shadrick J, Rood D, Hurst M, Piggott M, Hebditch B, Seal A, Wilcken Ket al., 2022, Sea level rise will likely accelerate rock coast cliff retreat rates, Nature Communications, Vol: 13, ISSN: 2041-1723

Coastal response to anthropogenic climate change is of central importance to the infrastructure and inhabitants in these areas. Despite being globally ubiquitous, the stability of rock coasts has been largely neglected, and the expected acceleration of cliff erosion following sea-level rise has not been tested with empirical data, until now. We have optimised a coastal evolution model to topographic and cosmogenic radionuclide data to quantify cliff retreat rates for the past 8000 years and forecast rates for the next century. Here we show that rates of cliff retreat will increase by up to an order of magnitude by 2100 according to current predictions of sea-level rise: an increase much greater than previously predicted. This study challenges conventional coastal management practices by revealing that even historically stable rock coasts are highly sensitive to sea-level rise and should be included in future planning for global climate change response.

Journal article

Corbett LB, Bierman PR, Brown TA, Caffee MW, Fink D, Freeman SPHT, Hidy AJ, Rood DH, Wilcken KM, Woodruff TEet al., 2022, Clean quartz matters for cosmogenic nuclide analyses: An exploration of the importance of sample purity using the CRONUS-N reference material, Quaternary Geochronology, Vol: 73, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 1871-1014

Reference materials are key for assessing inter-laboratory variability and measurement quality, and for placing analytical uncertainty bounds on sample analyses. Here, we investigate four years of data resulting from repeated processing of the CRONUS-N reference material for cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al analyses. At University of Vermont, we prepared a CRONUS-N aliquot with most of our sample batches from 2013 to 2017; these reference material samples were then distributed to four different accelerator mass spectrometry facilities, yielding 73 10Be analyses and 58 26Al analyses. We determine CRONUS-N 10Be concentrations of (2.26 ± 0.14) x 105 atoms g−1 (n = 73, mean, 1 SD) and 26Al concentrations of (1.00 ± 0.08) x 106 atoms g−1 (n = 58, mean, 1 SD). We find a reproducibility of 6.3% for 10Be and 7.7% for 26Al (relative standard deviations). We also document highly variable 27Al and Mg concentrations and a 10Be dispersion twice as large as the mean AMS analytic uncertainty. Analyses of the CRONUS-N material with and without density separation demonstrate that non-quartz minerals are present in the material and have a large impact on measured concentrations of 27Al, 10Be, and impurities; these non-quartz minerals represent only a very small portion of the total mass (0.6–0.8%) but have a disproportionally large effect on the resulting data. Our results highlight the importance of completely removing all non-quartz mineral phases from samples prior to Be/Al extraction for the determination of in situ cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al concentrations.

Journal article

Hughes A, Rood D, DeVecchio DE, Whittaker AC, Bell RE, Wilcken KM, Corbett LB, Bierman PR, Swanson BJ, Rockwell TKet al., 2022, Tectonic controls on Quaternary landscape evolution in the Ventura basin, southern California, quantified using cosmogenic isotopes and topographic analyses, Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol: 134, Pages: 2245-2266, ISSN: 0016-7606

The quantification of rates for the competing forces of tectonic uplift and erosion has important implications for understanding topographic evolution. Here, we quantify the complex interplay between tectonic uplift, topographic development, and erosion recorded in the hanging walls of several active reverse faults in the Ventura basin, southern California, USA. We use cosmogenic 26Al/10Be isochron burial dating and 10Be surface exposure dating to construct a basin-wide geochronology, which includes burial dating of the Saugus Formation: an important, but poorly dated, regional Quaternary strain marker. Our ages for the top of the exposed Saugus Formation range from 0.36 +0.18/-0.22 Ma to 1.06 +0.23/-0.26 Ma and our burial ages near the base of shallow marine deposits, which underlie the Saugus Formation, increase eastwards from 0.55 +0.08/-0.07 Ma to 3.30 +0.30/-0.42 Ma. Our geochronology is used the calculate a rapid long-term fault throw rate of 4.7–6.3 mm yr-1 since ~1.5 Ma for the San Cayetano fault and a slip rate of 1.3–3.0 mm yr-1 since ~1.5 Ma for the Oak Ridge fault, both of which agree with contemporary reverse slip rates derived from GPS data. We also calculate total cosmogenic nuclide (TCN)-derived catchment-averaged erosion rates that range from 0.18–2.21mm yr-1 and discuss the applicability of TCN-derived catchment-averaged erosion rates in rapidly-uplifting, landslide-prone landscapes. We compare patterns in erosion rates and tectonic rates to fluvial response times and geomorphic landscape parameters to show that in young, rapidly-uplifting mountain belts, catchments may attain a quasi-steady state on timescales <105 years, even if catchment-averaged erosion rates are still 34 adjusting to tectonic forcing.

Journal article

Štěpančíková P, Rockwell TK, Stemberk J, Rhodes EJ, Hartvich F, Luttrell K, Myers M, Tábořík P, Rood DH, Wechsler N, Nývlt D, Ortuño M, Hók Jet al., 2022, Acceleration of late pleistocene activity of a central European fault driven by ice loading, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 591, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 0012-821X

We studied the southern part of the NW-SE trending Sudetic Marginal fault (SMF), situated at thenortheastern limit of the Bohemian Massif in central Europe, to assess its Quaternary activity. Eighteentrenches and thirty-four electric resistivity profiles were performed at Bílá Voda to study the fault zoneand 3-dimensional distribution of a beheaded alluvial fan on the NE side of the fault. We interpret asmall drainage, located about 29–45 m to the SE of the fan apex, as the only plausible source channelimplying a similar amount of left-lateral offset. The alluvial fan deposits’ radiometric ages range betweenabout 24 and 63 ka, but postglacial deposits younger than 11 ka are not displaced, indicating that allmotion occurred in the late Pleistocene. The site lies ∼150 km south of the late Pleistocene Weichselianmaximum (∼20 ka) ice sheet front. We model the effects of the ice load on lithospheric flexure andresolved fault stresses, and show that slip on the SMF was promoted by the presence of the ice sheet,resulting in a late Pleistocene slip rate of ∼1.1+2.3/−0.6 mm/yr. As the most favorable time for glacialloading-induced slip would be during the glacial maximum between about 24 and 12 ka, it is doubtfulthat the slip rate remained constant during the entire period of activity, and if most slip occurred duringthis period, the short-term rate may have been even higher. Considering that the modern maximumprincipal stress (σ1) is oriented nearly parallel to the Sudetic Marginal fault (NNW-SSE) and is thusunfavorable for fault motion, our observations suggest that the likelihood of continued motion andearthquake production is much lower in the absence of an ice sheet.

Journal article

Braddock S, Hall BL, Johnson JS, Balco G, Spoth M, Whitehouse PL, Campbell S, Goehring BM, Rood DH, Woodward Jet al., 2022, Relative sea-level data preclude major late Holocene ice-mass change in Pine Island Bay, Nature Geoscience, Vol: 15, Pages: 1-6, ISSN: 1752-0894

The rapidly retreating Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers together dominate present-day ice loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and are implicated in runaway deglaciation scenarios. Knowledge of whether these glaciers were substantially smaller in the mid-Holocene and subsequently recovered to their present extents is important for assessing whether current ice recession is irreversible. Here we reconstruct relative sea-level change from radiocarbon-dated raised beaches at sites immediately seawards of these glaciers, allowing us to examine the response of the earth to loading and unloading of ice in the Amundsen Sea region. We find that relative sea level fell steadily over the past 5.5 kyr without rate changes that would characterize large-scale ice re-expansion. Moreover, current bedrock uplift rates are an order of magnitude greater than the rate of long-term relative sea-level fall, suggesting a change in regional crustal unloading and implying that the present deglaciation may be unprecedented in the past ~5.5 kyr. While we cannot preclude minor grounding-line fluctuations, our data are explained most easily by early Holocene deglaciation followed by relatively stable ice positions until recent times and imply that Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers have not been substantially smaller than present during the past 5.5 kyr.

Journal article

Wilcken KM, Codilean AT, Fülöp R-H, Kotevski S, Rood AH, Rood DH, Seal AJ, Simon Ket al., 2022, Technical note: Accelerator mass spectrometry of 10Be and 26Al at low nuclide concentrations, Geochronology, Vol: 4, Pages: 339-352, ISSN: 2628-3719

Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is currently the standard technique to measure cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al concentrations, but the challenge with measuring low nuclide concentrations is to combine high AMS measurement efficiency with low backgrounds. The current standard measurement setup at ANSTO uses the 3+ charge state with Ar stripper gas at 6 MV for Be and 4 MV for Al, achieving ion transmission through the accelerator for 10Be3+ and 26Al3+ of around 35 % and 40 %, respectively. Traditionally, 26Al measurement uncertainties are larger than those for 10Be. Here, however, we show that 26Al can be measured to similar precision as 10Be even for samples with 26Al  27Al ratios in the range of 10−15, provided that measurement times are sufficiently long. For example, we can achieve uncertainties of 5 % for 26Al  27Al ratios around , typical for samples of late Holocene age or samples with long burial histories. We also provide empirical functions between the isotope ratio and achievable measurement precision, which allow predictive capabilities for future projects and serve as a benchmark for inter-laboratory comparisons. For the smallest signals, not only is understanding the source of 10Be or 26Al background events required to select the most appropriate blank correction method but also the impact of the data reduction algorithms on the obtained nuclide concentration becomes pronounced. Here we discuss approaches to background correction and recommend quality assurance practices that guide the most appropriate background correction method. Our sensitivity analysis demonstrates a 30 % difference between different background correction methods for samples with 26Al  27Al ratios below 10−14. Finally, we show that when the measured signal is small and the number of rare isotope counts is also low, differing 26Al or 10Be concentrations may be obtained from the same data if al

Journal article

Adams JR, Johnson JS, Roberts SJ, Mason PJ, Nichols KA, Venturelli RA, Wilcken K, Balco G, Goehring B, Hall B, Woodward J, Rood DHet al., 2022, New 10Be exposure ages improve Holocene ice sheet thinning historynear the grounding line of Pope Glacier, Antarctica, Publisher: Copernicus GmbH

Evidence for the timing and pace of past grounding line retreat of the Thwaites Glacier system in the Amundsen Sea embayment (ASE) of Antarctica provides constraints for models that are used to predict the future trajectory of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Existing cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure ages suggest that Pope Glacier, a former tributary of Thwaites Glacier, experienced rapid thinning in the early to mid-Holocene. There are relatively few exposure ages from the lower ice-free sections of Mount Murphy (&lt; 300 m asl) that are uncomplicated by either nuclide inheritance or scattering due to localised topographic complexities; this makes the trajectory for the latter stages of deglaciation uncertain. This paper presents 12 new 10Be exposure ages from erratic cobbles collected from the western flank of Mt Murphy, within 160 m of the modern ice surface and 1 km from the present grounding line. The ages comprise two tightly clustered populations with mean deglaciation ages of 7.1 ± 0.1 ka and 6.4 ± 0.1 ka (1SE). Linear regression analysis applied to the age-elevation array of all available exposure ages from Mt Murphy indicates that the median rate of thinning of Pope Glacier was 0.27 m yr-1 between 8.1–6.3 ka, occurring 1.5 times faster than previously thought. Furthermore, this analysis better constrains the uncertainty (95 % confidence interval) in the timing of deglaciation at the base of the Mt Murphy vertical profile (~80 m above the modern ice surface), shifting it to earlier in the Holocene (from 5.2 ± 0.7 ka to 6.3 ± 0.4 ka). Taken together, the results presented here suggest that early–mid Holocene thinning of Pope Glacier occurred over a shorter interval than previously assumed and permit a longer duration over which subsequent late Holocene rethickening could have occurred.

Working paper

Johnson JS, Venturelli RA, Balco G, Allen CS, Braddock S, Campbell S, Goehring BM, Hall BL, Neff PD, Nichols KA, Rood DH, Thomas ER, Woodward Jet al., 2022, Review article: Existing and potential evidence for Holocene grounding line retreat and readvance in Antarctica, The Cryosphere, Vol: 16, Pages: 1543-1562, ISSN: 1994-0416

Widespread existing geological records from above the modern ice sheet surface and outboard of the current ice margin show that the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) was much more extensive at the Last Glacial Maximum (∼ 20 ka) than at present. However, whether it was ever smaller than present during the last few millennia, and (if so) by how much, is known only for a few locations because direct evidence lies within or beneath the ice sheet, which is challenging to access. Here, we describe how retreat and readvance (henceforth “readvance”) of AIS grounding lines during the Holocene could be detected and quantified using subglacial bedrock, subglacial sediments, marine sediment cores, relative sea-level (RSL) records, geodetic observations, radar data, and ice cores. Of these, only subglacial bedrock and subglacial sediments can provide direct evidence for readvance. Marine archives are of limited utility because readvance commonly covers evidence of earlier retreat. Nevertheless, stratigraphic transitions documenting change in environment may provide support for direct evidence from subglacial records, as can the presence of transgressions in RSL records, and isostatic subsidence. With independent age control, ice structure revealed by radar can be used to infer past changes in ice flow and geometry, and therefore potential readvance. Since ice cores capture changes in surface mass balance, elevation, and atmospheric and oceanic circulation that are known to drive grounding line migration, they also have potential for identifying readvance. A multidisciplinary approach is likely to provide the strongest evidence for or against a smaller-than-present AIS in the Holocene.

Journal article

Clark J, Carlson AE, Reyes A, Carlson ECB, Guillaume L, Milne GA, Tarasov L, Caffee M, Wilcken K, Rood DHet al., 2022, The age of the opening of the Ice-Free Corridor and implications for the peopling of the Americas, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol: 119, Pages: 1-6, ISSN: 0027-8424

The Clovis-first model for the peopling of the Americas by ∼13.4 ka has long invoked the Ice-Free Corridor (IFC) between the retreating margins of the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets as the migration route from Alaska and the Yukon down to the Great Plains. Evidence from archaeology and ancient genomics, however, now suggests that pre-Clovis migrations occurred by at least ∼15.5 to 16.0 ka or earlier than most recent assessments of the age of IFC opening at ∼14 to 15 ka, lending support to the use of a Pacific coast migration route instead. Uncertainties in ages from the IFC used in these assessments, however, allow for an earlier IFC opening which would be consistent with the availability of the IFC as a migration route by ∼15.5 to 16.0 ka. Here, we use 64 cosmogenic (10Be) exposure ages to closely date the age of the full opening of the IFC at 13.8 ± 0.5 ka. Our results thus clearly establish that the IFC was not available for the first peopling of the Americas after the Last Glacial Maximum, whereas extensive geochronological data from the Pacific coast support its earlier availability as a coastal migration route.

Journal article

Johnson JS, Roberts SJ, Rood DH, Pollard D, Schaefer JM, Whitehouse PL, Ireland LC, Lamp JL, Goehring BM, Rand C, Smith JAet al., 2021, Corrigendum to “Deglaciation of Pope Glacier implies widespread early Holocene ice sheet thinning in the Amundsen Sea sector of Antarctica” [Earth & Planetary Science Letters 548 (2020) 116501], Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 576, ISSN: 0012-821X

Journal article

Shadrick JR, Hurst MD, Piggott MD, Hebditch BG, Seal AJ, Wilcken KM, Rood DHet al., 2021, Multi-objective optimisation of a rock coast evolution model with cosmogenic Be-10 analysis for the quantification of long-term cliff retreat rates, Earth Surface Dynamics, Vol: 9, Pages: 1505-1529, ISSN: 2196-6311

This paper presents a methodology that uses site-specific topographic and cosmogenic 10Be data to perform multi-objective model optimisation of a coupled coastal evolution and cosmogenic radionuclide production model. Optimal parameter estimation of the coupled model minimises discrepancies between model simulations and measured data to reveal the most likely history of rock coast development. This new capability allows a time series of cliff retreat rates to be quantified for rock coast sites over millennial timescales. Without such methods, long-term cliff retreat cannot be understood well, as historical records only cover the past ∼150 years. This is the first study that has (1) applied a process-based coastal evolution model to quantify long-term cliff retreat rates for real rock coast sites and (2) coupled cosmogenic radionuclide analysis with a process-based model. The Dakota optimisation software toolkit is used as an interface between the coupled coastal evolution and cosmogenic radionuclide production model and optimisation libraries. This framework enables future applications of datasets associated with a range of rock coast settings to be explored. Process-based coastal evolution models simplify erosional processes and, as a result, often have equifinality properties, for example that similar topography develops via different evolutionary trajectories. Our results show that coupling modelled topography with modelled 10Be concentrations can reduce equifinality in model outputs. Furthermore, our results reveal that multi-objective optimisation is essential in limiting model equifinality caused by parameter correlation to constrain best-fit model results for real-world sites. Results from two UK sites indicate that the rates of cliff retreat over millennial timescales are primarily driven by the rates of relative sea level rise. These findings provide strong motivation for further studies that investigate the effect of past and future relative sea level

Journal article

Mariotti A, Croke J, Bartley R, Kelley SE, Ward J, Fulop R-H, Rood AH, Rood DH, Codilean AT, Wilcken K, Fifield Ket al., 2021, Pre-development denudation rates for the Great Barrier Reef catchments derived using Be-10, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol: 172, Pages: 1-20, ISSN: 0025-326X

Understanding of the pre-development, baseline denudation rates that deliver sediment to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has been elusive. Cosmogenic 10Be in sediment is a useful integrator of denudation rates and sediment yields averaged over large spatial and temporal scales. This study presents 10Be data from 71 sites across 11 catchments draining to the GBR: representing 80% of the GBR catchment area and provide background sediment yields for the region. Modern, short-term, sediment yields derived from suspended load concentrations are compared to the 10Be data to calculate an Accelerated Erosion Factor (AEF) that highlights denudation “hot-spots” where sediment yields have increased over the long-term background values.The AEF results show that 58% basins have higher modern sediment yields than long-term yields. The AEF is considered a useful approach to help prioritise on-ground investments in remediation and the additional measured empirical data in this paper will help support future predictive models.

Journal article

Carlson AE, Reyes A, Sillett K, Wilcken KM, Rood DHet al., 2021, Southwest Greenland ice-sheet retreat during the 8.2 ka cold event, Quaternary Science Reviews: the international multidisciplinary research and review journal, Vol: 268, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 0277-3791

The century-long 8.2 ka cold event interrupted early Holocene boreal warmth and may have halted retreat of Greenland ice-sheet margins during the last deglaciation. Here, we synthesize new and existing glacial geological data to assess the behavior of the southwest Greenland ice sheet during the 8.2 ka cold event. In southwest Greenland near the town of Kangerlussuaq, existing and new 10Be surface exposure ages demonstrate that deposition of the Keglen moraines ended at 8.0 ± 0.1 ka (n = 10, 1 outlier), with prior studies arguing that these moraines represented an ice-margin stillstand in response to the 8.2 ka cold event. However, new 10Be ages show that the southwest Greenland ice-sheet margin retreated from the Umîvît moraines, which lie 5–10 km outboard of the Keglen moraines, at 8.2 ± 0.2 ka (n = 11). Accordingly, we suggest that the southwest Greenland ice-sheet margin in the Kangerlussuaq region retreated 5–10 km during the 8.2 ka cold event. Farther south and inland from Nuuk, new 10Be boulder-on-bedrock ages adjacent to the modern ice-sheet margin demonstrate that the ice-margin was retreating with no moraine deposition at 8.2 ± 0.1 ka (n = 4, 1 outlier), with this retreat continuing up to at least ∼7.5 ka according to an existing threshold lake record. Therefore, we propose that the southwest Greenland ice-sheet margin underwent continued retreat during the 8.2 ka cold event in response to elevated early Holocene boreal summer insolation that overwhelmed the impacts from century-scale cooling. Caution should be used in assuming climatic causation for moraine deposition based on temporal correlation.

Journal article

Carlson AE, Reyes A, Gusterson E, Axford Y, Wilcken KM, Rood DHet al., 2021, Direct evidence for thinning and retreat of the southernmost Greenland ice sheet during the Younger Dryas, Quaternary Science Reviews: the international multidisciplinary research and review journal, Vol: 267, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 0277-3791

During the last deglaciation, North Atlantic climate abruptly warmed at the Bølling (∼14.7 ka), cooled into the Younger Dryas (∼12.9 ka) and abruptly warmed again into the Holocene (∼11.7 ka). While these events are defined by Greenland ice cores, there is still considerable uncertainty on Greenland ice-sheet margin responses to abrupt climate change. To refine the ice sheet's deglacial history, we present new cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure ages from boulders on bedrock at five sites in southernmost Greenland fjords located midway between the coast and inland ice margin. We find ice-sheet thinning below three local topographic highs at 12.7 ± 0.3 ka (n = 3), 13.1 ± 0.4 ka (n = 1, 2 outliers), and 12.3 ± 0.2 ka (n = 3), with up-fjord retreat at 12.5 ± 0.3 ka (n = 3) and 12.7 ± 0.2 ka (n = 4) based on two sites just above the mid-fjord marine limit. These mid-fjord 10Be ages therefore show southernmost Greenland ice-sheet thinning and retreat during the Younger Dryas. We hypothesize that this thinning and retreat was a response to ocean warming prior to the Holocene and/or summer shortwave radiative forcing during the Younger Dryas due to peak boreal summer insolation. Our results also support a previously hypothesized winter bias in proxy records of Younger Dryas atmospheric cooling, since a large summer cooling during the Younger Dryas could have counteracted the effects of ocean warming and direct radiative forcing, inhibiting ice-sheet retreat.

Journal article

Stirling MW, Abbott ER, Rood DH, McVerry GH, Abrahamson NA, Barrell DJA, Huso R, Litchfield NJ, Luna L, Rhoades DA, Silvester P, Van Dissen RJ, Van Houtte C, Zondervan Aet al., 2021, First use of fragile geologic features to set the design motions for a major existing engineered structure, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol: 111, Pages: 2673-2695, ISSN: 0037-1106

We document the first use of fragile geologic features (FGFs) to set formal design earthquake motions for a major existing engineered structure. The safety evaluation earthquake (SEE) spectrum for the Clyde Dam, New Zealand (the mean 10,000 yr, ka, return period response spectrum) is developed in accordance with official guidelines and utilizes constraints provided by seven precariously balanced rocks (PBRs) located 2 km from the dam site and the local active Dunstan fault. The PBRs are located in the hanging wall of the fault. Deterministic PBR fragilities are estimated from field measurements of rock geometries and are the dynamic peak ground accelerations (PGAs) required for toppling. PBR fragility ages are modeled from B10e cosmogenic isotope exposure dating techniques and are in the range of 24–66 ka. The fragility ages are consistent with the PBRs having survived at least two large Dunstan fault earthquakes. We develop a PGA‐based fragility distribution from all of the PBRs, which represents the cumulative toppling probability of a theoretical random PBR as a function of PGA. The fragility distribution is then used to eliminate logic‐tree branches that produce PGA hazard curves that would topple the random PBR with a greater than 95% probability (i.e., less than 5% survival probability) over a time period of 24 ka (youngest PBR fragility age). The mean 10 ka spectrum of the remaining hazard estimates is then recommended as the SEE spectrum for the dam site. This SEE spectrum has a PGA of 0.55g⁠, which is significantly reduced from the 0.96g obtained for a preliminary version of the SEE spectrum. The reduction is due to the combined effects of the PBR constraints and a substantial update of the probabilistic seismic hazard model. The study serves as an important proof‐of‐concept for future applications of FGFs in engineering design.

Journal article

Johnson JS, Pollard D, Whitehouse PL, Roberts SJ, Rood DH, Schaefer JMet al., 2021, Comparing Glacial-Geological Evidence and Model Simulations of Ice Sheet Change since the Last Glacial Period in the Amundsen Sea Sector of Antarctica, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-EARTH SURFACE, Vol: 126, ISSN: 2169-9003

Journal article

QuyeSawyer J, Whittaker AC, Roberts GG, Rood DHet al., 2021, Fault throw and regional uplift histories from drainage analysis: evolution of southern Italy, Tectonics, Vol: 40, Pages: 1-26, ISSN: 0278-7407

Landscapes can record elevation changes caused by multiple tectonic processes. Here, we show how coeval histories of spatially coincident normal faulting and regional uplift can be deconvolved from river networks. We focus on Calabria, a tectonically active region incised by rivers containing knickpoints and knickzones. Marine fauna indicate that Calabria has been uplifted by >1 km since ∼0.8–1.2 Ma, which we used to calibrate parameters in a stream power erosional model. To deconvolve the local and regional uplift contributions to topography, we performed a spatiotemporal inversion of 994 fluvial longitudinal profiles. Uplift rates from fluvial inversion replicate the spatial trend of rates derived from dated Mid-Late Pleistocene marine terraces, and the magnitude of predicted uplift rates matches the majority of marine terrace uplift rates. We used the predicted uplift history to analyze long-term fault throw, and combined throw estimates with ratios of footwall uplift to hanging wall subsidence to isolate the nonfault related contribution to uplift. Increases in fault throw rate—which may suggest fault linkage and growth—have been identified on two major faults from fluvial inverse modeling, and total fault throw is consistent with independent estimates. The temporal evolution of nonfault related regional uplift is similar at three locations. Our results may be consistent with toroidal mantle flow generating uplift, perhaps if faulting reduces the strength of the overriding plate. In conclusion, fluvial inverse modeling can be an effective technique to quantify fault array evolution and can deconvolve different sources of uplift that are superimposed in space and time.

Journal article

Codilean AT, Fülöp R-H, Munack H, Wilcken KM, Cohen TJ, Rood DH, Fink D, Bartley R, Croke J, Fifield LKet al., 2021, Controls on denudation along the East Australian continental margin, Earth-Science Reviews, Vol: 214, Pages: 1-24, ISSN: 0012-8252

We report a comprehensive inventory of 10Be-based basin-wide denudation rates (n = 160) and 26Al/10Be ratios (n = 67) from 48 drainage basins along a 3000 km stretch of the East Australian passive continental margin. We provide data from both basins draining east of the continental divide (n = 37) and discharging into the Tasman and Coral Seas, and from basins draining to the west as part of the larger Murray-Darling and Lake Eyre river systems (n = 11). 10Be-derived denudation rates in mainstem samples from east-draining basins range between 7.7 ± 1.9 (± 1σ; Mary) and 54.6 ± 13.7 mm kyr−1 (North Johnstone). Denudation rates in tributary samples range between 3.0 ± 0.7 (Burdekin) and 70.2 ± 18.9 mm kyr−1 (Liverpool). For west-draining basins, denudation rates are overall lower and with a more restricted range of 4.8 ± 1.2 (Barcoo) to 15.4 ± 3.6 mm kyr−1 (Maranoa) in mainstem samples, and between 4.4 ± 1.0 (Murrumbidgee) and 38.5 ± 7.8 mm kyr−1 (Murray) in tributary samples. East Australian denudation rates (median = 14.5 mm kyr−1) are similar to those found in other postorogenic landscapes (global median = 12.4 mm kyr−1) and the medians of the top 10% denudation rates recorded here (46.5 mm kyr−1) and in other passive margin settings are also similar, despite differences in topography and precipitation. These median denudation rate values are close to the 95th percentile denudation rate for all tectonically passive basins (≈53 mm kyr−1) and are very similar to the global silicate weathering speed limit (≈58 mm kyr−1) calculated as the 95th percentile of global soil weathering rates. The above suggests that in post-orogenic terrain, the overall rates of topographic decay have a ‘speed limit’ that is imposed by the rate at which rock is converted to soil by chemical weathering. Denudation rates along the East Australian mar

Journal article

Levy Y, Rockwell T, Minas S, Hughes A, Rood Det al., 2021, Geological structure of the Sylmar basin: implications for slip distribution along the Santa Susana/hospital and mission hills fault system in the San Fernando Valley, CA, USA, Frontiers in Earth Science, Vol: 8, Pages: 1-18, ISSN: 2296-6463

We developed a forward model using the Trishear module in MOVE to better understand the structure of the northwestern San Fernando Valley and the relationship among the Santa Susana, Hospital, Mission Hills and Northridge Hills faults. This study was motivated by the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and previous work that inferred a high slip rate on the Santa Susana fault, which is in apparent contrast to the lack of significant geomorphic expression of the fault in the Sylmar Basin region. We trenched the Mission Hills anticline from the crest to the base of slope and demonstrate that the Mission Hills anticline is an actively growing fault propagation fold. The associated thrust tip is either deeper than 15 m or sufficiently far to the south that the fault was not encountered in large diameter borings, but the minimum structural relief across the Mission Hills fault since the late Pleistocene is on the order of 37 m, suggesting a minimum uplift rate of 0.5 mm/yr. Our work presents a structural analysis that demonstrates how the Santa Susana fault system evolved in time, with the frontal thrust progressively migrating southward to the Mission Hills fault, and farther south to the Northridge Hills blind thrust. The progression of faulting towards the direction of vergence is compatible with the observed thrust front migration in the western Transverse Ranges of California, and other trust belts around the world.

Journal article

Balco G, DeJong BD, Ridge JC, Bierman PR, Rood DHet al., 2021, Atmospherically produced beryllium-10 in annually laminated late-glacial sediments of the North American Varve Chronology, Geochronology, Vol: 3, Pages: 1-33, ISSN: 2628-3719

We attempt to synchronize the North American Varve Chronology (NAVC) with ice core and calendar year timescales by comparing records of atmospherically produced 10Be fallout in the NAVC and in ice cores. The North American Varve Chronology (NAVC) is a sequence of 5659 varves deposited in a series of proglacial lakes adjacent to the southeast margin of the retreating Laurentide Ice Sheet between approximately 18 200 and 12 500 years before present. Because properties of NAVC varves are related to climate, the NAVC is also a climate proxy record with annual resolution, and our overall goal is to place the NAVC and ice core records on the same timescale to facilitate high-resolution correlation of climate proxy variations in both. Total 10Be concentrations in NAVC sediments are within the range of those observed in other lacustrine records of 10Be fallout, but 9Be and 10Be concentrations considered together show that the majority of 10Be is present in glacial sediment when it enters the lake, and only a minority of total 10Be derives from atmospheric fallout at the time of sediment deposition. Because of this, an initial experiment to determine whether or not 10Be fallout variations were recorded in NAVC sediments by attempting to observe the characteristic 11-year solar cycle in short varve sections sampled at high resolution was inconclusive: short-period variations at the expected magnitude of this cycle were not distinguishable from measurement scatter. On the other hand, longer varve sequences sampled at decadal resolution display centennial-period variations in reconstructed 10Be fallout that have similar properties as coeval 10Be fallout variations recorded in ice core records. These are most prominent in glacial sections of the NAVC that were deposited in proglacial lakes and are suppressed in paraglacial sections of the NAVC that were deposited in lakes lacking direct glacial sediment input. We attribute this difference to the fact that buffering

Journal article

Stirling MW, Oskin ME, Arrowsmith JR, Rood AH, Goulet CA, Ludwig LG, King TR, Kottke A, Lozos JC, Madugo CM, McPhillips D, Rood DH, Sleep NH, Wittich CEet al., 2021, Evaluation of seismic hazard models with fragile geologic features, Seismological Research Letters, Vol: 92, Pages: 314-324, ISSN: 0895-0695

We provide an overview of a 2019 workshop on the use of fragile geologic features (FGFs) to evaluate seismic hazard models. FGFs have been scarcely utilized in the evaluation of seismic hazard models, despite nearly 30 yr having passed since the first recognition of their potential value. Recently, several studies have begun to focus on the implementation of FGFs in seismic hazard modeling. The workshop was held to capture a “snapshot” of the state‐of‐the‐art in FGF work and to define key research areas that would increase confidence in FGF‐based evaluation of seismic hazard models. It was held at the annual meeting of the Southern California Earthquake Center on 8 September 2019, and the conveners were Mark Stirling (University of Otago, New Zealand) and Michael Oskin (University of California, Davis). The workshop attracted 44 participants from a wide range of disciplines. The main topics of discussion were FGF fragility age estimation (age at which an FGF achieved its current fragile geometry), fragility estimation, FGF‐based evaluation of seismic hazard models, and ethical considerations relating to documentation and preservation of FGFs. There are now many scientists working on, or motivated to work on, FGFs, and more types of FGFs are being worked on than just the precariously balanced rock (PBR) variety. One of the ideas presented at the workshop is that fragility ages for FGFs should be treated stochastically rather than assuming that all share a common age. In a similar vein, new studies propose more comprehensive methods of fragility assessment beyond peak ground acceleration and peak ground velocity‐based approaches. Two recent studies that apply PBRs to evaluate probabilistic seismic hazard models use significantly different methods of evaluation. Key research needs identified from the workshop will guide future, focused efforts that will ultimately facilitate the uptake of FGFs in seismic hazard analysis.

Journal article

Rood AH, Rood DH, Stirling MW, Madugo CM, Abrahamson NA, Wilcken KM, Gonzalez T, Kottke A, Whittaker AC, Page WD, Stafford PJet al., 2020, Earthquake hazard uncertainties improved using precariously balanced rocks, AGU Advances, Vol: 1, Pages: 1-24, ISSN: 2576-604X

Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) is the state‐of‐the‐art method to estimate ground motions exceeded by large, infrequent, and potentially damaging earthquakes; however, a fundamental problem is the lack of an accepted method for both quantitatively validating and refining the hazard estimates using empirical geological data. In this study, to reduce uncertainties in such hazard estimates, we present a new method that uses empirical data from precariously balanced rocks (PBRs) in coastal Central California. We calculate the probability of toppling of each PBR at defined ground‐motion levels and determine the age at which the PBRs obtained their current fragile geometries using a novel implementation of cosmogenic 10Be exposure dating. By eliminating the PSHA estimates inconsistent with at least a 5% probability of PBR survival, the mean ground‐motion estimate corresponding to the hazard level of 10−4 yr−1 (10,000 yr mean return period) is significantly reduced by 27%, and the range of estimated 5th–95th fractile ground motions is reduced by 49%. Such significant reductions in uncertainties make it possible to more reliably assess the safety and security of critical infrastructure in earthquake‐prone regions worldwide.

Journal article

Simms AR, Rood DH, Rockwell TK, 2020, Correcting MIS5e and 5a sea-level estimates for tectonic uplift, an example from southern California, Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol: 248, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 0277-3791

Along tectonically active margins, the difference in elevations between global sea levels during highstands and uplifted marine terraces is a function of both tectonics and glacial-isostatic adjustment (GIA). However, disentangling the relative influence of these two processes remains a challenge for those trying to gain insights into either process. In this study, we outline a strategy for isolating the tectonic contribution to marine isotope stage (MIS) 5e and 5a marine terrace elevations for the southern California coast by determining the cosmogenic radionuclide burial age and elevation of the early Pleistocene (1.48 ± 0.17 Ma) Clairemont Terrace in San Diego. Using this older terrace as a datum for calculating tectonic uplift rate provides a much longer time period to average out uncertainties in past local or relative sea levels (RSL) that arise from ambiguities in GIA parameters and global meltwater volumes. The assumption of constant uplift rates is warranted for this portion of the California coast given its relatively simple tectonic setting on the rift flank of the Salton Trough. From this approach, we determine an average uplift rate of 0.066 ± 0.020 mm/yr or 0.055 ± 0.013 mm/yr, depending on the RSL model used for the time of the Clairemont Terrace formation, for much of the San Diego coastline. Correcting for this tectonic uplift rate leaves an estimate of 15.1 + 2.6/-3.1 m (16.4 + 1.9/-2.6 m) and 4.8 ± 1.9 m (5.6 ± 1.5 m) for RSL during MIS5e and MIS5a, respectively. These new estimates of MIS5e and MIS5a sea levels along the southern California coast provide important constraints on GIA parameters and former ocean and ice volumes.

Journal article

Johnson JS, Roberts SJ, Rood DH, Pollard D, Schaefer JM, Whitehouse PL, Ireland LC, Lamp JL, Goehring BM, Rand C, Smith JAet al., 2020, Deglaciation of pope glacier implies widespread early holocene ice sheet thinning in the Amundsen sea sector of Antarctica, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol: 548, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 0012-821X

The Amundsen Sea sector of the Antarctic ice sheet presently dominates the contribution from Antarctica to sea level rise. Several large ice streams that currently drain the sector have experienced rapid flow acceleration, grounding line retreat and thinning during the past few decades. However, little is known of their longer-term – millennial-scale – retreat history, despite the reliance of several ice sheet and glacial-isostatic adjustment models on such data for improving sea level prediction from this critical region. This study investigates the timing and extent of surface lowering of one of those ice streams, Pope Glacier, since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), using glacial-geological evidence for former ice cover. We present a new deglacial chronology for the glacier, derived from surface exposure dating of glacially-deposited cobbles and ice-scoured bedrock from Mount Murphy and its surrounding peaks. Cosmogenic 10Be exposure ages from 44 erratic cobbles and 5 bedrock samples, and in situ 14C exposure ages from one erratic and 8 bedrock samples are predominantly in the range 5.5-16 ka. Although 10Be inheritance from prior exposure is prevalent in some erratics and probably all bedrock samples, none of the ages pre-date the LGM. From these results we infer that the surface of Pope Glacier lowered by 560 m during the early- to mid-Holocene (9-6 ka), at an average rate of 0.13 ± 0.09/0.04 m yr−1. The lowering coincided with a period of enhanced upwelling of warm Circumpolar Deep Water onto the continental shelf in the region. A reduction in buttressing − facilitated by such upwelling − by an ice shelf that is thought to have spanned the embayment until 10.6 cal kyr BP could have triggered simultaneous early Holocene thinning of Pope Glacier and glaciers elsewhere in the Amundsen Sea Embayment.

Journal article

Pacheco M, Plattner AM, Stock GM, Rood DH, Pluhar CJet al., 2020, Surface exposure dating and geophysical tomography of the royal arches meadow rock avalanche, Yosemite Valley, California, Frontiers in Earth Science, Vol: 8, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2296-6463

Since the retreat of glaciers after the Last Glacial Maximum, rock avalanches haveoccurred intermittently in Yosemite Valley, California. We investigated the distal portionof the oldest of these, the Royal Arches Meadow rock avalanche, which has beenpartially buried by sediment aggradation. Cosmogenic 10Be exposure ages of boulderswithin the deposit indicate that the rock avalanche occurred at 16.1 ± 0.3 ka, immediatelyafter deglaciation and thus prior to most aggradation. The interface between the rockavalanche deposit and the underlying glaciofluvial sediments therefore provides anelevation marker of the valley floor at the time of deposition. To identify the elevationof this interface, we collected eight Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and five ElectricalResistivity Tomography (ERT) profiles across the rock avalanche. Both methods aresensitive to contrasts between the granitic avalanche deposit and the underlyingsediments. By constraining ERT inversions with GPR interfaces that are continuousacross the profiles, we identified a single interface, interpreted as the basal contact of therock avalanche, that separates resistive material from conductive material underneath.The elevation of this approximately horizontal interface is between 1,206 and 1,209m, roughly 10 m below the modern ground surface, indicating ≈ 10 m of sedimentaggradation since deglaciation. Based on topographic expression and depth to thiscontact, we determined a minimum volume estimate of between 8.1 × 105 m3 and9.7 × 105 m3, nearly three times larger than what would be estimated from surfaceexpression alone. Our findings allow reconstruction of the sedimentation history ofYosemite Valley, inform hazard and risk assessment, and confirm that geophysicalmethods are valuable tools for three-dimensional investigations of rock avalanches,particularly those buried by younger sediments.

Journal article

Swirad ZM, Rosser NJ, Brain MJ, Rood DH, Hurst MD, Wilcken KM, Barlow Jet al., 2020, Publisher Correction: Cosmogenic exposure dating reveals limited long-term variability in erosion of a rocky coastline., Nat Commun, Vol: 11

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

Journal article

Swirad ZM, Rosser NJ, Brain MJ, Rood DH, Hurst MD, Wilcken KM, Barlow Jet al., 2020, Cosmogenic exposure dating reveals limited long-term variability in erosion of a rocky coastline., Nature Communications, Vol: 11, Pages: 3804-3804, ISSN: 2041-1723

Predicted sea-level rise and increased storminess are anticipated to lead to increases in coastal erosion. However, assessing if and how rocky coasts will respond to changes in marine conditions is difficult due to current limitations of monitoring and modelling. Here, we measured cosmogenic 10Be concentrations across a sandstone shore platform in North Yorkshire, UK, to model the changes in coastal erosion within the last 7 kyr and for the first time quantify the relative long-term eros0ive contribution of landward cliff retreat, and down-wearing and stripping of rock from the shore platform. The results suggest that the cliff has been retreating at a steady rate of 4.5 ± 0.63 cm yr-1, whilst maintaining a similar profile form. Our results imply a lack of a direct relationship between relative sea level over centennial to millennial timescales and the erosion response of the coast, highlighting a need to more fully characterise the spatial variability in, and controls on, rocky coast erosion under changing conditions.

Journal article

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