Sampling Methods for Luminescence Dating of Subsurface Deposits from Cores
USU Luminescence Laboratory, North Logan, UT 84341, USA
Department of Geosciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-4505, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Methods Protoc. 2019, 2(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/mps2040088
Received: 2 October 2019 / Revised: 11 November 2019 / Accepted: 19 November 2019 / Published: 22 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methods in Dating and Other Applications using Luminescence)
Study of subsurface deposits often requires coring or drilling to obtain samples for sedimentologic and geochemical analysis. Geochronology is a critical piece of information for stratigraphic correlation and rate calculations. Increasingly, luminescence dating is applied to sediment cores to obtain depositional ages. This paper provides examples and discussion of guidelines for sampling sediment core for luminescence dating. Preferred protocols are dependent on the extraction method, sedimentology, core integrity, and storage conditions. The methods discussed include subsampling of sediment in opaque core-liners, cores without liners, previously open (split) cores, bucket auger samples, and cuttings, under red lighting conditions. Two important factors for luminescence sampling of sediment core relate to the integrity of the natural luminescence signal and the representation of the dose rate environment. The equivalent dose sample should remain light-safe such that the burial dose is not reset (zeroed) by light exposure. The sediment sampled for dose rate analyses must accurately represent all units within at least 15 cm above and below the equivalent dose sample. Where lithologic changes occur, units should be sampled individually for dose rate determination. Sediment core extraction methods vary from portable, hand-operated devices to large truck- or vessel-mounted drill rigs. We provide recommendations for luminescence sampling approaches from subsurface coring technologies and downhole samplers that span shallow to deep sample depths.