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So actually measuring all three Ne isotopes is not that big a problem.

The more serious problem is deconvolving the various sources of Ne-21.

The following figure shows trapped Ne-21 concentrations in quartz and sanidine samples from a variety of studies.

The laboratory doubles as a dark room for the preparation of silver salts.

This makes for a cheaper, faster, and more accessible measurement than accelerator mass spectrometry, and opens the possibility of projects (like the Codilean paper noted above) that involve enough measurements on individual clasts, surfaces, etc. Ne-21 is also a pain in the neck, for a couple of reasons.

The most important one is that nearly all minerals contain significant amounts of non-cosmogenic Ne-21.

They are very hard when exposure ages are tens of thousands of years and erosion rates are hundreds of meters per million years.

In this and subsequent blog entries I will discuss under what conditions it is actually feasible to use cosmogenic Ne-21 to measure erosion rates, exposure ages, and burial ages, that is, when it is worth bothering to make the measurement.

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