Luminescence dating of loess deposits from the Remagen-Schwalbenberg site, Western Germany

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Abstract

This study describes the luminescence characteristics of quartz of Upper Pleistocene loess of the Middle Rhine area. The loess/palaeosol sequence of the Schwalbenberg near Remagen com-prises a multitude of interstadial soils and soil sediments that have been dedicated to the Marine Iso-tope Stage 3 (MIS 3). These weak calcaric cambisols and their derivates are underlain by loess and soil sediments of MIS 4 to MIS 5 and covered by loess sediments and intercalated gelic gleysols of MIS 2. We applied luminescence dating of quartz and feldspar of drill core samples and observed an age discrepancy within both data sets. The quartz ages were clearly younger than the feldspar ages, because of thermally unstable signal components of the quartz luminescence signal. Therefore, we re-garded the quartz samples of the lower parts of the drill core as unsuitable for luminescence dating. This underestimation did not affect the quartz samples of the upper part of the drill core which was indicated by age control that was provided by the Eltville tephra layer. Geochemical analysis based on X-ray fluorescence showed that the sediments in the upper part and the lower part of the drill core have different geogenic finger prints most likely due to changing source areas of dust and sediment allocation. We assumed that these different facies types were the reason for the luminescence behav-ior of the quartz samples.

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