Major Research Achievements

Array of 100 quartz grains ready for OSL measurement Sampling loess at Loveland, USAMembers of the laboratory have played key roles in the development of luminescence dating as a Quaternary geochronological tool. Key technical and methodolgical milestones have been: (1) the development of the first single aliquot methods for dating (Duller 1991); (2) development of the first widely available system for making optically stimulated luminescence measurements of quartz (Bøtter-Jensen and Duller 1992); (3) development of the first widely available system for making OSL measurements on single sand-sized grains (Duller et al. 1999); (4) development of the Single Aliquot Regenerative Dose (SAR) procedure for determining the equivalent dose from quartz (Murray and Wintle 2000) which is now used for the vast majority of all luminescence dates; (5) extension of the range of luminescence dating using quartz by analysis of the thermally-transferred optically stimulated luminescence signal (TT-OSL) (Wang et al. 2006).

As well as making technological and methodological developments, the group has also applied these methods to key issues in Quaternary science: (1) dating of the earliest evidence for human symbolic representation at Blombos cave, South Africa (Henshilwood et al. 2002); (2) discovery of unprecedented rates of dust accumulation during the deglaciation of North America (Roberts et al. 2003) and realisation of the active role that atmospheric dust may play in causing climate change; (3) absolute dating of loess from the Chinese Loess Plateau back to the Brunhes-Matuyama boundary (780 ka) based on TT-OSL.