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Investigations into the potential effects of pedoturbation on luminescence dating

By M.D. Bateman, C.D. Frederick, M.K. Jaiswal and A.K. Singhvi

Abstract

Much effort has been focussed on understanding the luminescence properties of natural minerals to achieve a reliable, accurate and precise dating technique. However, some field related aspects, such as the influence or effect of post-depositional disturbance on luminescence dates, are as yet underexplored. In the case of pedoturbation, depending on its intensity, the rate of sedimentation and unit thicknesses, potentially the whole sedimentary record at a site can be affected. This may lead to distorted OSL chronologies and erroneous sediment burial ages.\ud \ud Pedoturbation can result in sediment mixing and/or exhumation that affect luminescence both at the bulk and single grain level. Effects of these two principle processes on luminescence ages are examined using standard multigrain and single grain protocols. High resolution sampling of surface gopher mounds was used to determine the efficiency of bio-exhumation in resetting luminescence signal. Results show this is an inefficient mechanism for onsite sediment bleaching. The effects on luminescence signal of bio-mixing were explored by comparing a sample collected from within a krotovina (infilled burrow) to an adjacent undisturbed sample. Results show the difficulties in identifying pedoturbated samples at the single aliquot level and the possible inaccuracies in using the lowest palaeodose values to calculate OSL ages. Where pedoturbation of samples is suspected, use of probability plots of palaeodoses data is recommended. From these plots it is proposed that only data falling within a normal distribution centred on the peak probability be used to calculated OSL ages and to mitigate problems arising from pedoturbation. \ud \u

Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:1072

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