Variations in luminescence properties of quartz and feldspar from modern fluvial sediments in three rivers



Publication Details

Gliganic, L. A., Cohen, T. J., Meyer, M. & Molenaar, A. (2017). Variations in luminescence properties of quartz and feldspar from modern fluvial sediments in three rivers. Quaternary Geochronology, 41 70-82.


Studies of modern sediments, their sedimentology and depositional processes are important for understanding the behaviour of the luminescence characteristics of quartz and feldspar in fluvial settings. Previous studies have shown large variations in OSL characteristics of quartz from different fluvial systems, while the IRSL and pIRIR signals from K-feldspar have been understudied. We test the effects of fluvial setting on luminescence characteristics by collecting modern (old) bedload sediments down the courses of three river systems with very different hydrological characteristics, geologic contexts, and catchment lithologies. The single grain (SG) and multi-grain aliquot (MGA) OSL (quartz) and IRSL and pIRIR (K-feldspar) properties of samples were measured and compared to better understand intra- and inter-fluvial system patterns in sensitivity, bleaching, and equivalent dose (De) distribution skewness and kurtosis. The quartz OSL and K-feldspar IRSL and pIRIR signal sensitivities increase with downstream transport distance of sediments, confirming previous studies (quartz) and showing that IRSL signals from K-feldspar also increase in response to reworking cycles. Increasing transport distance also results in better bleaching of the OSL signal from quartz samples (MGA and SG) due to more grains being exposed to sunlight. By contrast, the IRSL and pIRIR signals retain significant residuals in all samples, though 5¿15% of grains yield zero-dose De values and age modelling of SG data yields accurate burial dose estimates. Additionally, the skewness and kurtosis of SG OSL De datasets from one river increase with transport distance, with the best bleached samples exhibiting the highest skewness, thereby questioning the applicability of the skewness-value of a De dataset as an accurate indicator for partial-bleaching. Our data shows marked variability between (i) different river systems and (ii) the measured minerals, however consistent use of statistical models allows accurate De estimation in all contexts. Age modelling of SG data from K-feldspar, thus, provides a valuable tool for future fluvial research in regions where poor OSL characteristics prevent the use of quartz as a dosimeter.

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