Optically stimulated luminescence dating of young (<500 years old) sediments: Testing estimates of burial dose
The reliability of single-grain optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of young (<500 years old) samples is assessed by examining the results of 166 single-grain OSL analyses of Australian alluvial, lacustrine, estuarine, coastal and marine sediment samples. All samples have been analysed using the modified SAR protocol of Olley et al. [2004b. Optical dating of Holocene sediments from a variety of geomorphic settings using single grains of quartz. Geomorphology 60, 337-358], with burial doses (Db) calculated by fitting a single Gaussian curve to the peak of a multi-Gaussian summed probability distribution (PDFGaussian). The near-equivalence of this approach to currently accepted methods of palaeodose estimation - namely the minimum age and central age models of Galbraith et al. [1999. Optical dating of single and multiple grains of quartz from Jinmium rock shelter, northern Australia: part I, experimental design and statistical models. Archaeometry 41, 339-364] - is demonstrated. Considered as a whole, OSL ages calculated using the PDFGaussian Db determination method are consistent with other chronometric, geomorphological, botanical and historical indicators of depositional age, while four alternative (previously published) methods are generally less reliable when applied to the samples analysed here. The single-grain data from 12 samples of known age (reported by Olley et al. [2004b. Optical dating of Holocene sediments from a variety of geomorphic settings using single grains of quartz. Geomorphology 60, 337-358]) are re-analysed using the PDFGaussian approach, with all but one yielding a Db consistent with the independently known age. Examples of luminescence data (dose recovery tests, preheat plateaux, continuous-wave and linear-modulated OSL, growth curves, single-grain dose distributions) are provided that together indicate the suitability of Australian quartz for dating young sediments.