Luminescence dating techniques

Heating the mineral (or exposure to light) releases electrons, and produces a flash of light, setting the clock to 0 (maybe only partial).

TL dating is a matter of comparing the energy stored in a crystal to what "ought" to be there, thereby coming up with a date-of-last-heated.

In the same way, more or less, OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dating measures the last time an object was exposed to sunlight.

Protons and neutrons are themselves made of even smaller particles called quarks. These particles leave tiny tracks in the crystal structure of the zircon, which geologists count using a powerful microscope.

The more tracks there are, the longer the uranium has been decaying for.

OSL is also less commonly referred to as optical dating, photon stimulated luminescence dating or photoluminescence dating..

Luminescence dating methods are based on the ability of some mineral grains to absorb and store energy from environmental ionizing radiation emanating from the immediate surroundings of the mineral grains as well as from cosmic radiation.But when the rock is exposed to high enough levels of heat or light, that exposure causes vibrations in the mineral lattices and the trapped electrons are freed.Luminescence dating is a collective term for dating methods that encompass thermoluminescence (TL) and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating techniques.Photon-stimulated luminescence (PSL) is emitted when minerals are exposed to visible or infrared wavelengths of light, and radioluminescence (RL) is emitted during mineral exposure to nuclear radiation (e.g., gamma rays).Other terms for PSL dating are optical dating or OSL dating.The number of tracks is proportional to the cooling age as well as to the U content of the apatite.

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