Future directions of luminescence dating of quartz
Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating is one of the techniques widely used on such sediments.
Owing to the short distances traveled before deposition, the incomplete bleaching of luminescence signals in glacial sediments may introduce serious dating problems vis-à-vis glacial and any associated sediments.
In 1982, when Richard Klein first became one of the Editors of this journal, the luminescence dating community was embarking on a new phase of exploratory research.
Attention was turning from the use of thermoluminescence (TL) dating to estimate the time of last heating of archaeological objects, such as pottery and burnt flint, to the TL dating of unheated sediments that had been transported by wind and then deposited on the landscape.
These traps are steadily refilled after sediment deposition and the longer the grains remain buried, the more TL they will emit when measured.
In 1985, Huntley and colleagues proposed ‘optical dating’ as a simpler and superior means of stimulating the light-sensitive traps in Quaternary sediments, and this is now the principal luminescence-based method of dating geological and archaeological deposits.
Research has focused on defining stratigraphic sequences, securing reliable chronologies and understanding landscape-vegetation-climate feedbacks for aridity and subsequent recovery.
Recent developments in our understanding of the limitations of optically stimulated luminescence as a dating tool are presented alongside summaries of results obtained on other luminescence signals measured in sedimentary quartz grains.
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Luminescence from quartz is commonly used in retrospective dosimetry, in particular for the dating of archaeological materials and sediments from the Quaternary period.
The phenomenon of luminescence is related to the interaction of natural radiation with mineral grains, by the activation of and subsequent trapping of electrons at defects within the quartz lattice. the trapped electrons) is released when the grains are exposed to stimulation energy in the form of light or heat.
Search for future directions of luminescence dating of quartz:
Experimental data have shown that the luminescence properties of quartz are highly variable with geological source and vary even at a grain-to-grain level within a sediment.