Luminescence characteristics of Scandinavian quartz, their connection to bedrock provenance and influence on dating results

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The success of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating relies to a large extent on suitable characteristics of the analysed mineral, in this case quartz. Previous OSL dating of Quaternary sediments in Scandinavia has shown that quartz characteristics vary widely across the region, resulting in dating studies with varied success. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of quartz luminescence characteristics in Sweden and Norway, evaluate their effect on dating results and discuss the underlying causes of their variability. A qualitative assessment of luminescence signal characteristics of quartz from Late Quaternary sediment deposits, from a range of geological and geographical settings, has been made by re-analysing data from samples previously dated at the Lund Luminescence Laboratory, Sweden. This allowed a general characterisation of signals and a study of the relationship of these properties to dating result ‘quality’. To quantify the results, selected samples were further analysed with single-grain measurements and with small aliquots. The results show that the average luminescence signal from quartz is fairly dim but dominated by a fast signal component and changes little during measurement. Dose determination precision is ∼4% for 8-mm aliquots and ∼6% for 2-mm aliquots. However, the luminescence signal characteristics have a spatial variation across Sweden and Norway, which appears to correlate with large-scale bedrock units. In areas of sedimentary bedrock outside the Scandinavian mountains and within the Blekinge-Bornholm province, the quartz is brighter and has a stronger fast signal component, while in the Caledonian orogenic belt, the signal is very weak and lacks a fast component. These differences lead to a range in precision of doses, from ∼2% to >40% (for doses in the order of 5–400 Gy), and in the number of rejected aliquots (0–100%) depending on location, but also implies that quartz luminescence can be used as a provenance indicator in part of Sweden and Norway.

TidskriftQuaternary Geochronology
StatusPublished - 2022

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Geologi


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