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This page was contributed by Dr Georgina King from the Aberystwyth Luminescence Research Laboratory in the Institute for Geography and Earth Sciences. OSL is used on glacial landforms that contain sand, such as sandur or sediments in glacial streams.

| Calculating Age | Challenges for OSL | Case studies of OSL dating in glacial environments | References | Comments | Another way of dating glacial landforms is optically stimulated luminescence dating (OSL).

The way that we do this is through sampling sand from the landforms in opaque plastic tubes and taking the sample back to a luminescence laboratory where only red light conditions are used. Optically stimulated luminescence dating of glaciofluvial sediments on the Canterbury Plains, South Island, New Zealand.

This instrument stimulates the luminescence signal of the sand through shining the sample with blue or infrared light-emitting-didoes (LEDs), which give the electrons enough energy to escape their traps and recombine elsewhere, emitting a photon of light.

We measure this emitted light (the luminescence) and this is the first stage towards measuring the sample age.

We then give our sand sample a range of laboratory radiation doses and measure the luminescence that each dose produces to develop a calibration curve.

From this curve we can calculate the dose that our sample must have received to produce the amount of light that we measured first.

We call this measurement our “equivalent dose”, because it is equivalent to the dose that the sample received in nature.

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