Dating quaternary events by luminescence just4u dating
Luminescence dating is good for between a few hundred to (at least) several hundred thousand years, making it much more useful than carbon dating.
The term luminescence refers to the energy emitted as light from minerals such as quartz and feldspar after they've been exposed to an ionizing radiation of some sort.
An NERC project with Neil Glasser (Aberystwyth), Stephan Harrison (Exeter) and Duller has used such single grain measurements to date glacigenic sediments from the margins of the Northern Patagonian Ice Sheet, Chile (Duller 2006).
These sediments are extremely challenging for OSL dating.
See Liritzis et al.'s excellent 2013 book on Luminescence Dating for more information on these processes.
Thermoluminescence was first clearly described in a paper presented to the Royal Society (of Britain) in 1663, by Robert Boyle, who described the effect in a diamond which had been warmed to body temperature.
The possibility of making use of TL stored in a mineral or pottery sample was first proposed by chemist Farrington Daniels in the 1950s. Applications and limitations of thermoluminescence to date quaternary sediments.
Luminescence dating of sediments relies upon exposure of mineral grains to sufficient sunlight at deposition to remove any charge that may remain from previous irradiation over geological time.
One of the major advantages of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) methods over methods developed in the 1980's based on thermoluminescence (TL) is that the OSL signal is reset by exposure to daylight several orders of magnitude more rapidly.
TL dating is a matter of comparing the energy stored in a crystal to what "ought" to be there, thereby coming up with a date-of-last-heated.