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Anomalous Fading of Thermo-luminescence in Mineral Samples


THE use of thermoluminescence (TL) for dating archaeological ceramics is well established1. Recently we have been attempting to use similar techniques to date volcanic lava from geologically recent flows (5,000 to 50,000 yr old), by measuring the TL from the feldspars present. These included rhyolites from near Naples and basalts from Iceland and the Massif Central region of France; the latter were of particular interest because palaeomagnetic and potassium argon age measurements and related radiocarbon dates in the Chaine des Puys region have suggested a geomagnetic polarity excursion of the Earth's magnetic field within the past 50,000 yr (ref. 2). The basalts contained the plagioclase feldspars labradorite, andesine and bytownite, and the rhyolites contained the alkali feldspar sanidine. All of the TL ages obtained were significantly lower than the accepted ages of the lava flows, some by an order of magnitude.

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WINTLE, A. Anomalous Fading of Thermo-luminescence in Mineral Samples. Nature 245, 143–144 (1973).

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