Optical dating techniques

The aim of this paper is to provide people involved in geomorphological research a global overview about the principles and procedures of optical dating, from the field sampling to the age interpretation.Most of the publications actually focus on one part of either the method (, laboratory procedures, statistical treatment) or its applications, and available general literature for non-specialists is still uncommon.This phenomenon is associated with a resetting (“zeroing”) of the dosimetric clock; iii) after one or several transport phases the grain is “definitively” buried under a sedimentary cover.It is exposed again to radiation and accumulates trapped electrons.They are now largely used to date not only palaeontological or organic remains, but also minerals that characterise detrital clastic sedimentary material.

The rate of release depends on four main parameters: i) the kind of mineral: the eviction occurs faster for quartz than for feldspars (reduction of the luminescence signal by a factor of 100 in ~ 20 s for the former, but a few minutes for the latter; Godfrey-Smith , these are more efficient to stimulate and release the electrons.Much later the grain is sampled in the field and stimulated in the laboratory using either visible light for quartz (OSL As shown in fig.2, the luminescence signal obtained by stimulation corresponds with a decay curve which shows the progressive emptying of the electrons from the traps.These “deep traps” (stable traps associated with high energy levels) can adequately be used for dating.The total amount of trapped electrons within a crystal is proportional to the total energy absorbed and retained by the crystal (or dose), hence the time it was exposed to radiation.

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