Electron spin resonance (ESR) dating of sediments using quartz is most commonly used for older sediments (>100 ka), since large residuals render the ESR signal unsuitable for dating young sediments. The multiple-centre approach (utilising both Ti and [AlO4/h]0 signals) is usually used to test the resetting of the signals used for ESR dating. Here we work towards a better understanding of, and correction for, the residual signal in ESR samples of sedimentary quartz. We undertook multiple-centre ESR measurements using quartz [AlO4/h]0 and Ti signals on young aeolian samples of different grain sizes which have been independently dated using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). Our results demonstrate that [AlO4/h]0 signal yields residuals indicating equivalent doses of about 500 Gy, substantially older than expected for the known OSL equivalent doses in the range of 8–37 Gy. The decay of [AlO4/h]0 signal as function of bleaching time can be represented by an exponential function. We investigate the dependence of the residual magnitude of the ESR signal as a function of the previous given dose and observe an exponential increase in the residual signal with dose. Such observations are consistent with the results of luminescence process modelling conducted for a model comprising two luminescence centres and several traps, one of which is a so-called deep disconnected trap that cannot be emptied during optical stimulation. We propose that bleaching occurs through an electron-hole recombination process with electrons released from optically sensitive traps. In addition to our new insights into the bleaching mechanisms of the [AlO4/h]0 ESR signal, we discuss the implications for the procedures used for performing residual dose corrections in ESR dating. We recommend that modern analogues be used in addition to laboratory-bleached samples when performing residual dose corrections.
- Sedimentary quartz
- ESR dating