Abstract

To help further develop reliable procedures for accurate thermoluminescence (TL) dating of Quaternary waterlaid sediments, we tested TL dating procedures on sediment types rarely examined: six glaciolacustrine samples, three samples of glaciomarine drift, and eight samples of floodplain deposits. We used the partial-bleach (R-beta/gamma) technique applied to fine-silt polymineral grains. Results from our younger known-age glaciolacustrine sediments confirm earlier observations that only the clayey laminae are generally suitable for TL dating. A clayey lamina older than ca. 140 – 150 ka produced no age underestimation, and this result (ca. 300 ka) suggests that such older lake sediments are probably suitable for TL dating. Two proximal samples of glaciomarine drift produced large TL age overestimates, whereas the single distal glaciomarine-drift sample yielded an expected age (177 ± 38 ka), suggesting that follow-up studies are warranted. Our results for eight flood-plain samples confirm that zeroing of light-sensitive TL is more likely to be effective for sediments deposited in quiet, ponded water on the floodplain than for proximal sediments deposited from turbid floodwater. TL age estimates for floodplain sediments of the regional Whidbey Formation are consistent with its expected last-interglacial age, and those for two samples from stratigraphically older beds are consistent with deposition near or beyond 200 ka. Two of our younger samples (one lacustrine and one floodplain) gave TL age underestimates, perhaps because of use of ultraviolet TL emissions for these samples.

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