Technische Ausstattung

Greifswald Laboratory for Luminescence Dating

Since 2015 the research groups ‘Quaternary Geology’ and ‘Physical Geography’ at the Institute of Geography and Geology operate a new luminescence dating facility.

Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating is a key technique for providing absolute age information on Quaternary-age depositional sequences with a wide range of terrestrial and marine applications. Using sand or silt-sized grains of quartz and feldspar, OSL dating determines the depositional age of sedimentary material by identifying the time when a sample was last exposed to daylight (usually during the transport prior to deposition).

Depending on the crystal properties, quartz can be used to date suitable sediments up to 100 – 200 ka in age, while feldspar has been used to date materials older than 300 ka and up to 1.0 Ma. The error margins on luminescence ages are typically in the range of 8 to 12 %. The key advantage of OSL dating is that this OSL method dates the minerogenic deposit itself, rather than organic matter (= radiocarbon dating) whose assumed age association with the deposition of the unit is frequently uncertain. Luminescence dating is also suitable for materials with ages beyond the radiocarbon dating limit.

Within the Institute for Geography and Geology the Greifswald Laboratory for Luminescence Dating provides geochronological analyses for application in Quaternary Science with a specific focus on glacial and interglacial stratigraphy, geomorphology, marine and coastal dynamics and geoarchaeology.