Optically Stimulated Luminescence Sensitivity of Quartz for Provenance Analysis

Methods Protoc. 2020 Jan 13;3(1):6. doi: 10.3390/mps3010006.


Finding the source or provenance of quartz grains occurring in a specific location allows us to constrain their transport pathway, which is crucial information to solve diverse problems in geosciences and related fields. The optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) sensitivity (light intensity per unit mass per unit radiation dose) has a high capacity for discrimination of quartz sediment grains and represents a promising technique for provenance analysis. In this study, we tested the use of quartz OSL sensitivity (ultraviolet emission) measured under different preheating temperatures and with blue light stimulation at room temperature (~20 °C) for sediment provenance analysis. Quartz OSL sensitivity measured at 20 °C is positively correlated with the sensitivity of an OSL signal measured using procedures (preheat at 190 °C for 10 s, blue stimulation at 125 °C and initial 1 s of light emission) to increase the contribution of the fast OSL component, which has been successfully applied for sediment provenance analysis. The higher OSL signal intensity measured without preheating and with light stimulation at room temperature allows the use of lower given doses, thus reducing measurement time. Additionally, the OSL sensitivity measured at 20 °C in polymineral silt samples of a marine sediment core is also suitable for provenance analysis, as demonstrated by comparison with other independent proxies. OSL signals obtained through light stimulation at room temperature have thus the potential to considerably expand measurement possibilities, including in situ measurements using portable OSL readers.

Keywords: luminescence; quartz fingerprint; sediment provenance; source-to-sink system.