Potential of Autoradiography to Detect Spatially Resolved Radiation Patterns in the Context of Trapped Charge Dating
Recent developments in optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating allow the determination of signals in increasingly smaller sample amounts. This has led to microdosimetry having a larger impact on equivalent dose (DE) distributions and therefore, detection and assessment of spatial distribution of radionuclides has become more important. This study demonstrates the application of autoradiography using imaging plates to determine spatially resolved radiation inhomogeneities in different types of samples. Qualitative evaluations of radiation inhomogeneity are carried out on unconsolidated sediments as well as on hard rock samples. While indicating some limitations of applicability, the results demonstrate that the method is an efficient tool to detect and document spatial variations in a sample's radiation field. It therefore provides a possibility to rapidly screen samples to check whether microdosimetry might affect the DE data.
Furthermore, an approach to calibrate autoradiographic images for quantitative use is suggested. Using pressed powder pellets of reference materials, a series of calibration images were exposed, from which a functional relation between specific sample activity and greyscale value in the autoradiographic image has been deduced. Testing the calibration on a set of 16 geological samples, of which their radionuclide content is known, shows a good correlation between specific activities calculated from the nuclide content and specific activities deduced from the autoradiographic images. These findings illustrate the potential of autoradiography with imaging plates to detect spatial distributions of radionuclides and to tackle certain aspects of the problem of microdosimetry in modern trapped charge dating.
Different post-IR Infrared Stimulated Luminescence (IRSL) approaches are applied to sediments from a Holocene coastal foredune sequence on Ruhnu Island in the eastern Baltic Sea. The comparison of D
e-values and ages determined by the different approaches is complimented by fading and bleaching experiments. The fading experiments imply strong fading of IRSL (50°C) signals and no fading of any of the post-IR IRSL signals, but this is not confirmed by the determined D
e-values. In fact, post-IR IRSL (150°C) D
e-values agree within errors with those calculated for IRSL (50°C). From the bleaching experiments it is inferred that the higher values observed for post-IR IRSL at more elevated stimulation temperatures (225°C/290°C) are likely related to either thermal transfer and/or slow-to-bleach components within the signal. For the dating of the Holocene foredune sequence of Ruhnu Island, the post-IR IRSL (150°C) approach is preferred and these agree with the limited independent age control available from radiocarbon dating. Accordingly, the sequence formed between ca. 7.0 ka and 2.5 ka ago.
Luminescence properties of two samples taken from sand lenses in proglacial outwash de-posits of a piedmont glacier that reached the Swiss midlands during the Last Glacial Maximum are investigated in detail. Deconvolution of CW-OSL decay curves shows that the fast component dominates the OSL signal of quartz. The chemistry of single feldspar grains, in particular the K content in different grains, is determined using wavelength dispersive spectrometry (electron microprobe), revealing an average 12.9 wt.% K of the grains contributing to the IRSL signal. D
e distributions are investigated in order to gain insights into partial bleaching, and agreement is found for quartz OSL and feldspar IR50 and pIRIR225 ages for small aliquots and single grains when applying the Minimum Age Model. These ages are also consistent with independent age control. For one sample, ages determined using the Central Age Model result in highly overestimated ages for both feldspar and quartz.
Rastislav Vojtko, František Marko, Frank Preusser, Ján Madarás and Marianna Kováčová
Late Quaternary fault activity in the Western Carpathians: evidence from the Vikartovce Fault (Slovakia)
The Cenozoic structure of the Western Carpathians is strongly controlled by faults. The E-W striking Vikartovce fault is one of the most distinctive dislocations in the region, evident by its geological structure and terrain morphology. This feature has been assumed to be a Quaternary reactivated fault according to many attributes such as its perfect linearity, faceted slopes, the distribution of travertines along the fault, and also its apparent prominent influence on the drainage network. The neotectonic character of the fault is documented herein by morphotectonic studies, longitudinal and transverse valley profile analyses, terrace system analysis, and mountain front sinuosity. Late Pleistocene activity of the Vikartovce fault is now proven by luminescence dating of fault-cut and uplifted alluvial sediments, presently located on the crest of the tilted block. These sediments must slightly pre-date the age of river redirection. Considering the results of both luminescence dating and palynological analyses, the change of river course probably occurred during the final phase of the Riss Glaciation (135 ± 14 ka). The normal displacement along the fault during the Late Quaternary has been estimated to about 105-135 m, resulting in an average slip rate of at least 0.8-1.0 mm · yr-1. The present results identify the Vikartovce fault as one of the youngest active faults in the Central Western Carpathians.
Daniel Rufer, Edwin Gnos, Ralph Mettier, Frank Preusser and Guido Schreurs
The application of luminescence dating to young volcanic sediments has been first investigated over three decades ago, but it was only with the technical innovations of the last decade that such analyses became viable. While current analytical procedures show promise for dating late Quaternary volcanic events, most efforts have been aimed at unconsolidated volcanic tephra. Investigations into direct dating of lava flows or of non-heated volcanoclastics like phreatic explosion layers, however, remain scarce. These volcanic deposits are of common occurrence and represent important chrono- and volcanostratigraphic markers. Their age determination is therefore of great importance in volcanologic, tectonic, geomorphological and climate studies. In this article, we propose the use of phreatic explosion deposits and xenolithic inclusions in lava flows as target materials for luminescence dating applications. The main focus is on the crucial criterion whether it is probable that such materials experience complete luminescence signal resetting during the volcanic event to be dated. This is argued based on the findings from existing literature, model calculations and laboratory tests.
Mareike Trauerstein, Sally E. Lowick, Frank Preusser and Heinz Veit
We investigate the suitability of sedimentary quartz associated with former glacial advances in northern Switzerland to provide reliable burial dose estimates using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). Previous studies on northern alpine quartz show that its signal characteristics can be poor and potentially problematic. We analyse quartz signals of small aliquots, which reveal the presence of a prominent medium or slow component in the initial part of some signals. Nonetheless, rejection of aliquots with unfavourable signal composition does not alter the burial dose estimates, but significantly reduces the data set for De determination. Signal lifetimes from isothermal decay measurements cover a wide range of values, yet the lowest lifetimes are high enough to guarantee a reliable burial dose estimate for samples of < 400 ka. Comparison of small aliquot and single grain burial dose distributions reveals that signal averaging masks partial bleaching in some of the samples. We therefore strongly recommend single grain measurements for samples from this setting and area, in order to exclude age overestimation due to partial bleaching.
Frank Preusser, Jan-Hendrik May, David Eschbach, Mareike Trauerstein and Laurent Schmitt
Knowledge of the age of fluvial deposits is an important aspect in the understanding of river dynamics, which is pre-requisite for sustainable river management and restoration back to more natural conditions and processes. Presented here is a case study on using feldspar Infrared Stimulated Luminescence (IRSL) to date low-energy fluvial sediments that formed after correction of the Upper Rhine River in the first half of the 19th century. A rigorous testing programme is carried out to characterise the IRSL properties of the samples, including thermal transfer, dose recovery and fading. All samples reveal complex distributions of equivalent dose, implying the presence of differential bleach-ing in the samples. It is shown that multi-grain aliquots overestimate the known-age by up-to 200 years, i.e. apparent IRSL ages are twice as old as the true age of the sediment. The use of single grains results in ages that are in excellent agreement with the expected age, therefore the age overestimation in multi-grain aliquot measurements is likely explained by signal averaging effects. While the application of single grains appears mandatory for dating young low-energy fluvial deposits, the small absolute offset associated with the multi-grain approach might be acceptable when dating sediments of such type that are older than a few 1000 years.