Glossary of some common terms used in optically stimulated luminescence, radiocarbon and cosmogenic nuclide dating.
|A sub-sample of the material being measured.
|Rocks that have been transported & deposited (inc. erratics, alluvial fans, gelifluction, etc.
|Attenuation length (Λ)
|Thickness of a material (rock, snow, ice) required to attenuate intensity of cosmic-ray flux due to scattering & energy absorption
|Rocks that have remained at or near site of formation
|The local variation in the marine reservoir effect from the global average of 400 years.
|The Earth’s magnetic field is dipolar, with a north and south pole.
|The amount of energy stored within a crystal as a result of exposure to radiation.
|The total radiation dose per unit time that the sample was exposed to during the burial period. Expressed as radiation dose per thousand years (Gy/ky).
|The laboratory estimate of the radiation dose accumulated throughout the burial period in OSL dating of sediments.
|Galactic cosmic radiation
|Energetic particles, mostly of protons, originating from outer space.
|Gray, SI unit of radiation dose, used in Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating. I Gy = I J kg-1
|Infra-red stimulated luminescence
|Retention of remnant cosmogenic nuclides from a previous exposure
|Families of nuclides with the same atomic number
|Marine Reservoir Effect (MRE)
|The concentration of radiocarbon differs between the ocean and the atmosphere, with a ‘reservoir’ in the global oceans. This results in an offset in the radiocarbon age of a sample. The global average MRE is 400 years.
|-ve muons: short-lived energetic lepton particles that decay quickly. Can penetrate rocks to depth.
|Atomic species characterised by a unique number of atomic number and neutron number (e.g., 10Be, which has 4 protons and 6 neutrons)
|Optically stimulated luminescence
|Luminescence signals of only a portion of the grains in a sample were fully zeroed prior to burial (typical of glaciofluvial environments)
|Rate at which a specific nuclide is produced from a specified element or in a mineral such as quartz. Vary spatially and temporally.
|Single aliquot regenerative-dose (for OSL dating)
|Nuclear reaction resulting from collision of a highly energetic secondary cosmic ray neutron of energy with a target nucleus.
|Terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide
|A nuclide produced by the interaction of secondary cosmic radiation with exposed target atoms in earth-surface materials.