Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2013

Faculty Mentor

Tammy Rittenour


Late Pleistocene glacial sediments from the South Fork Hoh River valley in the Olympic Mountains, Washington, USA and the Lake Hawea valley in the Southern Alps, New Zealand were dated using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) on quartz and infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) on feldspar sand from 2011-2013. High sediment supply (typical of glacial environments), short transport distances, and sediment newly eroded from bedrock sources were expected to pose problems for luminescence dating in these locations. Samples were collected from a variety of depositional environments and inferred distances from the ice-front to assess how luminescence signals may vary due to these factors and to determine which samples produce the most reliable age estimates. Although initial results looked promising for single-aliquot regenerative protocol on quartz grains, further work supports previous research that discusses limitations of quartz OSL dating of sediments from the Southern Alps, New Zealand and advocates for feldspar IRSL dating in the Hawea drainage. In contrast, results from the South Fork Hoh, Olympic Mountains of Washington, showed good quartz sensitivity and amenable mineralogical parameters that were used to highlight the importance of transport environment and sedimentary facies on solar resetting. Samples from these two glacial settings were collected as a part of more relevant and larger scale research goals towards improving the understanding and age resolution of the glacial history of coastal alpine areas.

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