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Single-step, laser-fusion 40Ar/39Ar ages of single muscovite grains with an automated micro-extraction system is a precise and relatively rapid way of analyzing large numbers of grains. This study used >500 muscovite grains from a late Wisconsinan sandy loess from eastern Long Island, New York, in order to evaluate the potential of Ar-Ar ages of single grain muscovite as a provenance tool for loess. The samples for dating were from a 2.7 m core of sediments from a small kettle hole in Wildwood State Park on the north shore of Long Island. These eolian deposits consist of a bimodal distribution of poorly sorted medium silt and medium sand that are buff colored, homogeneous, and unstratified. Long Island is a good place to test this approach, because the 40Ar/39Ar and K/Ar ages for muscovite in the potential bedrock sources to the north in New England vary systematically from ca. 450 Ma in the west to ca. 200 Ma in the east. The majority of muscovite ages in the loess range from 250 to 400 Ma, and muscovite age populations along the core show a change in proportion of muscovite input from the different provenances in New England. The results of this study confirm that using 40Ar/39Ar ages of a large number of single muscovite grains is a good method for examining the provenance of muscovite in loess, and thus understanding processes that produce loess.

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