Encyclopedia of Earthquake Engineering

2015 Edition
| Editors: Michael Beer, Ioannis A. Kougioumtzoglou, Edoardo Patelli, Siu-Kui Au

Luminescence Dating in Paleoseismology

  • Steven L. FormanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35344-4_35


Optical dating; Optically stimulated dating; OSL; Photostimulation


Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating or optical dating provides a measure of time since sediment grains were deposited and shielded from further light or heat exposure, which often effectively resets the luminescence signal (Fig. 1). This technique, as thermoluminescence, was originally developed in the 1950s and 1960s to date fired archeological materials, like ceramics (Aitken 1985). Ensuing research in the 1970s documented that marine and other sediments with a prior sunlight exposure of hours to days were suitable for thermoluminescence dating (Wintle and Huntley 1980). Discoveries in the 1980s and 1990s that exposure of quartz and feldspar grains to a tunable light source, initially with lasers and later by light-emitting diodes, yields luminescence components that are solar reset within seconds to minutes expanded greatly the utility of the method (Huntley et al. 1985; Hutt et al. 1988...
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyBaylor UniversityWacoUSA