Thermally-Transferred Optically Stimulated Luminescence (TT-OSL) from quartz is an extended-range luminescence dating technique, with an assumed potential to date sediments as old as early Pleistocene (0.8–2.6 Ma). However, one of the main drawbacks of the TT-OSL signal is its relatively low thermal stability. The few and scattered estimates in the literature of the relatively low thermal stability highlight the possibility that some reported TT-OSL ages are thermal artefacts (i.e. minimum ages only). In this study, we rigorously investigate the thermal stability of the main TT-OSL source trap, using a combination of laboratory and analytical techniques (varying heating rates, isothermal decay, alongside several models) on multiple aliquots of a modern sand sample from the eastern Mediterranean coastal plain. The varying heating rates method constrains the Arrhenius parameters of the TT-OSL main trap to E = 1.50 ± 0.06 eV and s = 1012.8±0.6 s−1; these values translate into a trap lifetime of 3.2−1.9 +4.8 Ma at 10 °C. Isothermal decay data further exhibits significant departures from first-order kinetic behavior, which can be well captured by either the general order kinetics model, or a Gaussian distribution of first-order systems. However, extrapolations of these models to geological timescales are at odds with a large volume of observations, thus suggesting that the deviation from first-order kinetics may be a laboratory artefact. Overall, our study reinforces the concern, that thermal loss progressively affects the TT-OSL signal in the Ma-scale age range, and that some previously reported results may be “minimum ages” only.
- Kinetic parameters
- Thermal stability