Direct and Indirect Luminescence Dating of Tephra: A Review


In Quaternary studies, tephras are widely used as marker horizons to correlate geological deposits. Therefore, accurate and precise dating is crucial. Among radiometric dating techniques, luminescence dating has the potential to date tephra directly using glass shards, volcanic minerals that formed during the eruption or mineral fragments that originate from the shattered country rock. Moreover, sediments that frame the tephra can be dated to attain an indirect age bracket. A review of numerous luminescence dating studies highlights the method's potential and challenges. While reliable direct dating of volcanic quartz and feldspar as a component in tephra is still methodically difficult mainly due to thermal and athermal signal instability, red thermoluminescence of volcanic quartz and the far‐red emission of volcanic feldspar have been used successfully. Furthermore, the dating of xenolithic quartz within tephra shows great potential. Numerous studies date tephra successfully indirectly. Dating surrounding sediments is generally straightforward as long as samples are not taken too close to the tephra horizons. Here, issues arise from the occurrence of glass shards within the sediments or unreliable determination of dose rates. This includes relocation of radioelements, mixing of tephra into the sediment and disregarding different dose rates of adjacent material.


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Bösken, J., Schmidt, C. (2019): Direct and Indirect Luminescence Dating of Tephra: A Review. – In: Journal of Quaternary Science , p: 1-15, DOI: 10.1002/jqs.3160

Authors Bösken, Janina and Schmidt, Christoph
Type article
Title Direct and Indirect Luminescence Dating of Tephra: A Review
DOI 10.1002/jqs.3160
Journal Journal of Quaternary Science
Year 2019
Pages 1-15
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