Optical dating techniques

Après une présentation des principes physiques généraux, les procédures mises en œuvre aussi bien sur le terrain qu’en laboratoire sont abordées, à partir de l’exemple des analyses réalisées sur des alluvions sableuses issues d’une basse terrasse de la Moselle.

La place des datations OSL dans la recherche géomorphologique en France et son potentiel pour les recherches futures sont décrits à travers une présentation de la diversité des environnements sédimentaires et des problématiques pouvant être traités.

A case study of fluvial sands from the lower terrace of the Moselle valley is then presented to describe the range of field and laboratory procedures required for successful luminescence dating.

The paper also reviews the place of OSL dating in geomorphological research in France and assesses its potential for further research, by focusing on the diversity of sedimentary environments and topics to which it can be usefully applied.

Ainsi, l’article souligne l’importance de la méthode pour les recherches en géomorphologie, notamment dans le cadre du développement de la géomorphologie quantitative.

Finally the paper reviews the recent applications of OSL dating in France, and assesses the potential of applying the luminescence dating technique to a range of geomorphic research.They are now largely used to date not only palaeontological or organic remains, but also minerals that characterise detrital clastic sedimentary material.The most common methods applied to minerals are cosmogenic radionuclides, electron spin resonance (ESR) and luminescence techniques.Hence it underlines the increasing importance of the method to geomorphological research, especially by contributing to the development of quantitative geomorphology.L’objectif de cet article est de proposer une présentation d’ensemble des méthodes de datations par luminescence stimulée optiquement (OSL) et de leurs applications dans le champ des recherches en géomorphologie.Luminescence methods (TL and OSL) are based on the estimation of the impact of radiation on the crystalline structure of minerals while they are shielded from light (Aitken, 1985; Wintle, 1997; Aitken, 1998; Duller, 2004; Vandenberghe, 2004).The main minerals studied are quartz and K-rich feldspar, which can be found in almost all sedimentary environments.Feldspars have the specificity of being sensitive both to short and to near-infrared or infrared wavelength (800-950 nm; Bøtter-Jensen ., 1994); iv) the sensitivity of the trap to light.Released electrons can recombine with another kind of crystalline defects (“holes” reflecting electrons vacancies).The general principles of the method are described first.The paper then explains how OSL dating is applied to obtain a depositional age, through the field and laboratory procedures employed.

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