Optical dating techniques


25-Oct-2017 07:27

An outline of the general physical principles of luminescence dating is given.

A case study of fluvial sands from the lower terrace of the Moselle valley is then presented to describe the range of field and laboratory procedures required for successful luminescence dating.

L’objectif de cet article est de proposer une présentation d’ensemble des méthodes de datations par luminescence stimulée optiquement (OSL) et de leurs applications dans le champ des recherches en géomorphologie.

Après une présentation des principes physiques généraux, les procédures mises en œuvre aussi bien sur le terrain qu’en laboratoire sont abordées, à partir de l’exemple des analyses réalisées sur des alluvions sableuses issues d’une basse terrasse de la Moselle.

Finally the paper reviews the recent applications of OSL dating in France, and assesses the potential of applying the luminescence dating technique to a range of geomorphic research.

Luminescence methods (TL and OSL) are based on the estimation of the impact of radiation on the crystalline structure of minerals while they are shielded from light (Aitken, 1985; Wintle, 1997; Aitken, 1998; Duller, 2004; Vandenberghe, 2004).

Optical dating techniques employ ubiquitous quartz or feldspar grains to directly date the deposition of sedimentary units.

As such, the optical dating methods allow the systematic chronological evaluation of Quaternary-age sedimentary sequences.

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The recombination generates the emission of light (the luminescence signal) which can be measured in laboratory through heating (for TL) or through light stimulation for OSL (Huntley ., 1985).

Within the School of Geography and the Environment, the OLD Laboratory provides support particularly for the Landscape Dynamics research cluster, with a specific focus on low latitude environment and climate change, geoarchaeology and geomorphology.

In addition our researchers continuously engage in efforts to improve and develop the methodology and to further advance our knowledge on the fundamental physical mechanisms underlying the dating method.

On the contrary, defects situated deeper inside the lattice have a higher thermal lifetime.

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These “deep traps” (stable traps associated with high energy levels) can adequately be used for dating.

Absolute dating methods have been developed over the last five decades (Jull and Scott, 2007).