Surface exposure dating of non-terrestrial bodies using optically stimulated luminescence: A new method

Reza Sohbati, Mayank Jain, Andrew Murray

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    We propose a new method for in situ surface exposure dating of non-terrestrial geomorphological features using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL); our approach is based on the progressive emptying
    of trapped charge with exposure to light at depth into a mineral surface. A complete model of the resetting of OSL with depth and time is presented for the first time; this model includes the competing effects of both optical resetting and irradiation. We consider two extreme conditions at the time the resetting is initiated: (a) a negligibly small trapped charge population and (b) a saturated trapped charge population. The potential dating applications for (a) include dust accumulation, volcanic rocks and impact-related sediments, and for (b) fault scarps, rock-falls, landslides and ice-scoured bedrock. Using assumptions based on terrestrial observations we expect that this approach will be applicable over the last 100 ka. The method is ideally suited to in situ measurement using existing technology developed for space applications, and so offers for the first time the realistic possibility of direct determination of exposure ages of young non-terrestrial surfaces.
    © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)160–166
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Moon, Surface
    • Mars, Surface
    • Mars, Climate
    • Terrestrial planets
    • Asteroids, Surfaces


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