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Fuqiang Li, Baotian Pan, Zhongping Lai, Hongshan Gao and Xianjiao Ou

Abstract

The partial bleaching of the luminescence signal prior to deposition results in age overestimation, and can be a problem in delineating fluvial evolution within an OSL chronological framework. The Inner Mongolian reaches of the Yellow River are characterised by a high sediment load and complex sources of sediments. To test the incomplete bleaching occurring in this type of environment, the residual doses and the luminescence signal characteristics of different particle size fractions from 14 modern fluvial sediment samples were investigated. Furthermore, 26 OSL ages derived from drilling cores were compared with 11 radiocarbon ages. Our results show that the residual equivalent doses principally range between 0.16 and 0.49 Gy for silt grains, and between 0.35 and 3.72 Gy for sand grains of modern samples. This suggests that medium-grained quartz has been well bleached prior to deposition, and is preferable to coarse-grained quartz when dating fluvial sediments in this region. The results also show that the De values of coarse-grained fractions display a stronger correlation with distance downstream. In addition, a comparison of OSL and radiocarbon ages from drilling cores establishes further confidence that any initial bleaching of these sediments was sufficient. As a result, we believe that the studied fluvial samples were well bleached prior to deposition.