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Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences

Research Group Luminescence

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Sampling

The mass of one sample should at least amount to 200 g. However, larger samples of up to 1 kg are preferable because the proportion of quartz and feldspar is unknown at the time of sampling. The sample must not be exposed to light to avoid age underestimation. This means sample collection has to be designed to minimise or exclude light exposure. The samples should then be stored in opaque bags. The best time of the day for sampling is at night. A common solution to take samples at daylight is to use steel tubes which are hammered into the sediment to be dated. The two ends of this tube are then sealed with lightproof lids. The sediment at the ends of the tubes which was light exposed can be removed and discarded in the laboratory in red light conditions. Further, it is crucial that the sediment in the tubes is not lose but densely packed without the possibility of mixing unbleached with bleached material. In case the tube is not filled completely with sediment, insert a tissue or something similar to prevent sample material from uncontrolled movement.

In addition to light-proof sampling of material for luminescence measurement, a representative amount (ca. 200-500 g) of sediment from the surrounding of the sampled position should be collected for radioactivity analysis. A rule of thumb for the radius relevant for these samples is 30 cm from the TL/OSL position. This material can be exposed to light. Importantly, the sedimentary luminescence samples should be taken from a preferably homogeneous layer with >60 cm thickness, while the distance to ground surface should be >30 cm.

Differing guidelines apply for collection of solid rock samples (silex artefacts, ceramics, thermochronometry samples).


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