Luminescence dating laboratory

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Some past members of the laboratory, such as Kira Westaway and Lee Arnold, now lead OSL dating laboratories elsewhere in Australia and overseas.

Two of the Risø instruments used for OSL dating in the UOW laboratory (top left).

Many different laboratory protocols have been developed as our understanding of the fundamental behaviour of luminescence signals from quartz and feldspar has improved.

These protocols are explained and discussed, giving the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure as applied to different types of sediment.

The new, state-of-the-art laboratory consists of separate rooms for the preparation and measurement of quartz and feldspar grains, as well as storage rooms for quarantined material.

All rooms are fitted with safelights, similar to a photographic darkroom.

Located in the basement of Bessey Hall on UNL's City Campus, the Luminescence Geochronology Laboratory specializes in optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of Quaternary fluvial, eolian, and coastal deposits.

Up to 48 discs can be measured in a single automated sequence.

It is one of the main methods used to establish the timing of key events in archaeology and human evolution, landscape and climate change, and palaeobiology in the latter half of the Quaternary.

The age is obtained by measuring the radiation dose received by the sample since it was last bleached by sunlight, and dividing this estimate by the dose rate from environmental sources of ionising radiation.

Laboratory procedures for dating sediments have been adapted from those for pottery and new procedures have been developed as the need arises.

The majority of sediment dating applications are carried out on quartz and potassium-rich feldspars and the general characteristics of the TL and OSL signals from these minerals are reviewed.

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