The 10Be/9Be ratio is commonly employed as a tool for establishing the stratigraphic position of paleomagnetic excursions and reversals whenever the traditional paleomagnetic approach fails to provide conclusive results. In particular, it is held that 10Be production rates in the atmosphere depend on the strength of the Earth's magnetic field, and the fallout and deposition of cosmogenic beryllium at the surface happen on a very short time scale. However, investigations performed on terrestrial and marine successions demonstrate that the 10Be record and the paleomagnetic signal are often asynchronous. Mechanisms that control the conveyance and deposition of cosmogenic 10Be to the seafloor are still ambiguous and poorly documented. Here, we discuss the dynamics of 10Be in a central Mediterranean marginal marine depositional scenario characterized by a pervasive terrigenous influx. Our data show that a very close correlation exists between 10Be concentrations and the local proxy of rainfall rates and regimes (pollen), indicating that a considerable 10Be transport from the mainland may occur in response to the remobilization of terrestrial reservoirs during periods of increased runoff. Superimposed is a dynamic oceanographic setting that further controls the preservation potential of 10Be at the bottom, in terms of changing water chemistry and/or composition of the sedimentary flux to the seafloor. Results of our investigation suggest that, in particular environmental and depositional settings, the interplay between climate, terrigenous yield and oceanography may jeopardize the sedimentary depiction of the meteoric 10Be contribution, thus challenging the use of 10Be for tracking the stratigraphic position of geomagnetic reversals.
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