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Building on previous OSL dating techniques for gypsum: a case study from Salt Basin playa, New Mexico and Texas

January 1, 2013

The long term stability and reliability of the luminescence signal for gypsum has not been well documented or systematically measured until just recently. A review of the current literature for luminescence dating of gypsum is compiled here along with original efforts at dating an intact and in-situ bed of selenite gypsum at Salt Basin Playa, New Mexico and Texas. This effort differs from other documented luminescence dating efforts because the gypsum is not powdery or redistributed from its original growth patterns within the playa basin but is instead of a crystalline form. Sixteen ages from eight cores were ultimately produced with seven of the ages coming from rare detrital quartz encased in or with the gypsum crystals while the remaining ages are from the crystalline gypsum. As far as can be ascertained, the quartz was measured separately from the gypsum and no contaminants were noted in any of the aliquots. Some basic and preliminary tests of signal stability were measured and found to be mitigated by lessening of pre-heat protocols. Ages ranged from 8 ka to 10 ka in the shallow cores and 16 ka to 22 ka in the deeper cores. These ages will be useful in determining rates of gypsum growth within a sequence of evaporates which, in turn, will help to better document historic rates of evaporation and thus estimate, with more precision, the corresponding annual evaporation rates.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2012
Title Building on previous OSL dating techniques for gypsum: a case study from Salt Basin playa, New Mexico and Texas
DOI 10.1016/j.quageo.2012.02.001
Authors Shannon Mahan, John Kay
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Quaternary Geochronology
Index ID 70047302
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center