Research Publication
Asst. Professor of Environ Sci Colin Robins
Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Colin Robins is lead author on an article published in Quaternary Geochronology. This paper describes an experiment to apply existing isotopic dating techniques to desert soil-landforms using untested target minerals. The types of soils studied can reach millions of years in age on extant landscapes, and they are also found as paleosols in the stratigraphic record. Reliable methods to date these carbonate-cemented soils have so far proven elusive. The soils are notorious for their open-system behavior, as well as for the difficulty of physically and chemically isolating target crystals from pervasive carbonate and silica cements. Thus, this study is an important step towards quantifying rates of landscape evolution in arid environments, and towards an improved understanding of how climate change is recorded by soil mineralogy and soil profile morphology. Robins, C.R., Buck, B.J., Spell, T., Soukup, D. and Steinberg, S.M., 2014. Testing the applicability of vacuum-encapsulated 40Ar/39Ar geochronology to pedogenic palygorskite and sepiolite. Quaternary Geochronology 20: 8-22. DOI:  


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