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.