Optically Stimulated Luminescence OSL dating has emerged within the last 20 years as a key Quaternary absolute dating tool, with a wide range of terrestrial and marine applications. 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. 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. The OLD Laboratory also provides a commercial luminescence dating service and works closely with clients in industry, archaeological organizations, environmental institutes and other academic groups. For commercial enquiries please contact Dr Szilvia Bajkan in the first instance clearly stating the following information:. Depositional context of material e. Region from which samples are derived.
Luminescence Dating: Applications in Earth Sciences and Archaeology
Luminescence dating refers to a group of methods of determining how long ago mineral grains were last exposed to sunlight or sufficient heating. It is useful to geologists and archaeologists who want to know when such an event occurred. It uses various methods to stimulate and measure luminescence. All sediments and soils contain trace amounts of radioactive isotopes of elements such as potassium , uranium , thorium , and rubidium.
These slowly decay over time and the ionizing radiation they produce is absorbed by mineral grains in the sediments such as quartz and potassium feldspar.
Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) is a technique used to date fossils in geological sediments through ionized radiation to determine the last time a.
Optically stimulated luminescence OSL dating has proven to be extremely useful for establishing the Late Quaternary chronological framework in many areas of the Brazilian territory. In this region dominated by tropical climate, OSL dating can be more extensively applied than radiocarbon dating due to the generally low potential for the preservation of organic matter in sedimentary samples. This problem is especially critical in areas of the Amazonian lowlands, because of the hot climate and high precipitation rates.
The abundance of quartz grains deposited in fluvial and aeolian environments over this region favours OSL dating. More than 20 years of continuous and collaborative work has resulted in the creation of an extensive OSL age database for Late Quaternary sedimentary deposits in the Amazonian lowlands. This effort has contributed to improving the paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions of this region within this period.
This book discusses the state of art of OSL dating of Late Quaternary deposits in the Amazonian lowlands, focusing on providing an introduction to dating principles using OSL, and defining the application of OSL techniques as a dating method. It also offers a statistical study and calculation of equivalent dose and annual dose rates, details the sampling and experimental apparatus, and considers the difficulties and adaptation techniques in dating Late Quaternary strata in the Amazonian lowlands.
Her research interests lie in the area of OSL and the thermoluminescence TL of crystals applied to geochronology and environmental ionizing radiation dosimetry. She has published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings and is a referee for 16 international journals. Her research focuses on geomorphologic, stratigraphic and sedimentologic analyses of Amazonian basins, as well as basins of the Equatorial South Atlantic Brazilian Margin.
She has published peer-reviewed journal articles and 20 book chapters, and has presented her work at numerous meetings and conferences. His research focuses on stratigraphy and facies analysis of sedimentary successions in Amazonian areas.
Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) Dating
Luminescence dating is used to identify when a sample was last exposed to daylight or extreme heat by estimating the amount of ionising radiation absorbed since burial or firing. This equation very simply expresses the calculations necessary, but it is important to be aware of the factors influencing the two values used. Heterogeneous sediments and radioactive disequilibria will increase errors on Dr, while incomplete bleaching of the sample prior to burial, anomalous fading in feldspars, and the estimation of past sediment moisture content may all also add to increased errors.
The dating of sediments using the luminescence signal generated by optical stimulation OSL offers an independent dating tool, and is used most often on the commonly occurring minerals of quartz and feldspar and, as such, has proved particularly useful in situations devoid of the organic component used in radiocarbon dating.
Luminescence dating is a rapidly expanding field. Recent advances in methodology and instrumentation have improved both its accuracy and precision, such that it is now becoming an important player in Quaternary science. The advantage luminescence has over other techniques is the ability to date directly events of archaeological and geological interest: the last heating of ceramics and lithics and the last exposure of light for sediments.
This often eliminates the need to establish a linkage between the dating event and the target event and thereby the loss of accuracy associated with such bridging arguments. Luminescence is not as precise as some dating methods, but errors between 5 and 10 percent are commonly obtained. Go in About Luminescence Dating. Luminescence is the emission of light from crystalline materials following the absorption of energy from an external source.
It is distinguished from other light emissions such as fluorescence by a time interval between absorption and emission, an interval of sufficient duration to permit dating on an archaeological time scale.
All Research Projects
Scientists in North America first developed thermoluminescence dating of rock minerals in the s and s, and the University of Oxford, England first developed the thermoluminescence dating of fired ceramics in the s and s. During the s and s scientists at Simon Frasier University, Canada, developed standard thermoluminescence dating procedures used to date sediments.
In , they also developed optically stimulated luminescence dating techniques, which use laser light, to date sediments.
Recent work as focused on optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) techniques, in particular a novel experimental approach to the measurement of single grain.
Please reference: Mallinson, D. Optically stimulated luminescence is a method of determining the age of burial of quartz or feldspar bearing sediments based upon principles of radiation and excitation within crystal lattices, and stems from the fact that imperfections in a crystal lattice have the ability to store ionizing energy Aitken , ; Botter -Jensen et al. Radiation within sediments comes from alpha, beta, and gamma radiation emitted during the decay of U, U, Th, 40 K, and 87 Rb, and their daughter products, both within the mineral grains and in their surroundings Lian , , and from cosmic rays Figure 1.
Under controlled laboratory conditions, assuming the sample was collected under light-restricted conditions, controlled exposure of the sample to photons yields a luminescence response the equivalent dose, D e , the intensity of which is a function of the dose rate within the sediment, and the length of time the sample was exposed to the background radiation. In order to measure the age, two factors must be known; 1 the environmental dose rate, and 2 the laboratory dose of radiation that produces the same intensity of luminescence as did the environmental radiation dose the equivalent dose.
Dividing the equivalent dose by the dose rate yields time. Samples for OSL analysis are typically collected from opaque core tubes aluminum or black pvc tubes that are pushed into the sediment using coring equipment vibracore , geoprobe , etc.
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford
Optically stimulated luminescence and isothermal thermoluminescence dating of high sensitivity and well bleached quartz from Brazilian sediments: from Late Holocene to beyond the Quaternary? E-mail: andreos usp. E-mail: ligia. E-mail: ccfguedes gmail.
This method of sediment dating makes use of the fact that daylight releases charge from light-sensitive traps in the defects in crystals such as quartz and feldspar.
Jain Mayank, Murray A. Optically stimulated luminescence dating: how significant is incomplete light exposure in fluvial environments? In: Quaternaire , vol. Fluvial Archives Group. Clermond-Ferrant Optically stimulated luminescence OSL dating of fluvial sediments is widely used in the interpretation of fluvial response to various allogenic forcing mechanisms during the last glacial-mterglacial cycle.
We provide here a non-specialist review highlighting some key aspects of recent development in the OSL dating technique relevant to the Quaternary fluvial community, and describe studies on dating of fluvial sediments with independent chronological control, and on recent fluvial sediment.
Laboratory of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL Laboratory)
The impetus behind this study is to understand the sedimentological dynamics of very young fluvial systems in the Amazon River catchment and relate these to land use change and modern analogue studies of tidal rhythmites in the geologic record. Many of these features have an appearance of freshly deposited pristine sand, and these observations and information from anecdotal evidence and LandSat imagery suggest an apparent decadal stability.
Signals from medium-sized aliquots 5 mm diameter exhibit very high specific luminescence sensitivity, have excellent dose recovery and recycling, essentially independent of preheat, and show minimal heat transfer even at the highest preheats.
The luminescence from burned lithics has traditionally been measured by TL, with some suggestion that OSL is not.
Optically stimulated luminescence dating at Rose Cottage Cave. A single-grain analysis demonstrates that the testing procedure for feldspar fails to reject single aliquots containing feldspar and the overestimate of age is attributed to this. Seven additional luminescence dates for the Middle Stone Age layers combined with the 14 C chronology establish the terminal Middle Stone Age deposits at 27 years ago, while stone tool assemblages that are transitional between the Middle Stone Age and the Late Stone Age are dated to between 27 years and 20 years ago.
Although there are inconsistencies in the Middle Stone Age dates, the results suggest that the Howiesons Poort at Rose Cottage Cave dates to between 70 years and 60 years ago. Much of the rich archaeological heritage in southern Africa is older than 50 years, which is the limit of the ubiquitous 14 C dating technique. In order to make appropriate inter-site comparisons of artefactual evidence, and further to compare the trajectory of human adaptation with external factors such as changing climates, it is necessary to establish a reliable chronological framework.
Optically stimulated luminescence OSL dating has become one of the foremost techniques in establishing this framework. OSL is based on the build-up and release of radiation energy in crystalline minerals, typically quartz. The charge build-up manifests as electrons, mobilized in the quartz matrix by environmental radiation, which populate pre-existing energy minima that are called ‘traps’.
OSL dates represent the time since electron traps within the quartz grains were previously emptied or bleached by heating or exposure to sunlight. The equivalent dose D e of the sample is divided by the dose rate to calculate the age. Luminescence techniques applied to quartz can be used to obtain depositional ages up to years in certain environments.
The principles of Luminescence Dating
Over the last 60 years, luminescence dating has developed into a robust chronometer for applications in earth sciences and archaeology. The technique is particularly useful for dating materials ranging in age from a few decades to around ,—, years. In this chapter, following a brief outline of the historical development of the dating method, basic principles behind the technique are discussed.
Chronological Methods 12 – Luminescence Dating In , they also developed optically stimulated luminescence dating techniques, which use laser light.
Luminescence is a phenomenon occurring in crystal materials, when electrons, trapped in special energy stages traps caused by defects in crystal structures, are released and emitting light luminescence which wavelength corresponds the change in charge carriers energy stages during the process. Electrons are getting trapped because of the natural radioactive background radiation. The longer the crystals are affected by this radiation the more electrons are trapped. Electrons can be released from traps by stimulating the crystals with external energy for example by heating thermoluminescence, TL or by lighting optically stimulated luminescence, OSL.
When electrons are released from traps the intensity of emitted luminescence follows linearly the amount of released electrons and can be used to find out the total amount of trapped electrons. From the amount of trapped electrons we can find out the total dose of radioactive radiation that has affected the crystals. This total dose can be used to the age determination when we measure the dose rate of radiation that has given that dose.
Age the time from the latest emptying of traps can be found out by dividing the total dose with dose rate.
Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) Dating in the Amazonian Wetlands
Luminescence dating including thermoluminescence and optically stimulated luminescence is a type of dating methodology that measures the amount of light emitted from energy stored in certain rock types and derived soils to obtain an absolute date for a specific event that occurred in the past. The method is a direct dating technique , meaning that the amount of energy emitted is a direct result of the event being measured.
Better still, unlike radiocarbon dating , the effect luminescence dating measures increases with time. As a result, there is no upper date limit set by the sensitivity of the method itself, although other factors may limit the method’s feasibility. To put it simply, certain minerals quartz, feldspar, and calcite , store energy from the sun at a known rate.
most methods used for dating with quartz. Optically stimulated luminescence. (OSL). A second means of releasing the electrons stored within minerals is by.
In physics , optically stimulated luminescence OSL is a method for measuring doses from ionizing radiation. It is used in at least two applications:. The method makes use of electrons trapped between the valence and conduction bands in the crystalline structure of certain minerals most commonly quartz and feldspar. The ionizing radiation produces electron-hole pairs: Electrons are in the conduction band and holes in the valence band.
The electrons that have been excited to the conduction band may become entrapped in the electron or hole traps. Under the stimulation of light, the electrons may free themselves from the trap and get into the conduction band. From the conduction band, they may recombine with holes trapped in hole traps. If the centre with the hole is a luminescence center radiative recombination centre , emission of light will occur.
The photons are detected using a photomultiplier tube. The signal from the tube is then used to calculate the dose that the material had absorbed.