Testing the use of OSL from quartz grains for dating debris flows in Miyun, northeast Beijing, China

Qiuyue Zhao, Kristina Jørkov Thomsen, Andrew Murray, Mingjian Wei, Baolin Pan, Bo Song, Rui Zhou, Shuzhen Chen, Xiaohong Zhao, Hongyi Chen

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    Extreme seasonal summer rain storms are common in the mountains to the north east of Beijing and these often result in mass movement of sediment slurries transported for up to a few km. These debris flows can be deadly and are very destructive to infrastructure and agriculture. This project tests the application of luminescence dating to determining the return frequency of such extreme events. The high sediment concentration and the very short flow duration gives very little opportunity for daylight resetting during transport and only a small fraction of the total mass is likely to be reset before transport begins. Here we examine the quartz single-grain dose distribution from a recent known-age (<25 years) debris flow from a small (~3.9 km2) catchment ~140 km north of Beijing and compare it with those from three samples from a sedimentary sequence containing the evidence of multiple flow events. Multi-grain quartz OSL signals are dominated by the fast component and <1% of the 150e200 mm grains give a detectable test dose (4.5 Gy) response. Single-grain beta dose recovery gave a ratio of 0.97 ± 0.06 (n ¼ 30) with an over-dispersion of 23 ± 8% (CAM). Both the recent known age and the palaeo-distributions are highly dispersed with over-dispersions greater than 50%. The average weighted doses range between ~3 mGy and ~6.5 Gy, indicating that all deposits are no more than a few thousand years. Minimum age modelling give an age estimate for the youngest sample consistent with the known age, and minimum ages for the older palaeo-deposits suggest that there have been at least 3 major debris flows in this small catchment in the last 1000 years. © 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalQuaternary Geochronology
    Issue numberPart B
    Pages (from-to)320–327
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Debris flow deposits
    • Quartz
    • Single-grain dating
    • SAR


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