Investigating the effects of glacial shearing of sediment on luminescence

Bateman, M.D., Swift, D.A., Piotrowski, J.A. and Sanderson, D.C.W. (2012) Investigating the effects of glacial shearing of sediment on luminescence. Quaternary Geochronology, 10, pp. 230-236. (doi: 10.1016/j.quageo.2011.11.012)

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Previously reported low luminescence of basal glacial sediment has raised the possibility that processes operating at the ice–bedrock interface have the potential to reset (or ‘bleach’) natural luminescence signals (Swift et al., 2011). This finding indicates that certain types of glacial sediment (for example, sub-glacial diamicts) might be amenable to dating using luminescence-based techniques. Using a purpose-built ring-shear apparatus situated in a light-controlled environment, we have investigated the potential for mineral grains to be reset when subjected to conditions similar to those experienced by sediment that has undergone transport at the ice–bedrock interface. Reported here are the preliminary results of an initial experiment that used medium quartz sand with a naturally-acquired palaeodose of ∼4.3 Gy that had been obtained from a relict dune system. Incremental sampling during the shearing experiment and measurements were made to track changes in the luminescence properties of the sand as strain/shearing increased. The results indicate that increased strain/shearing resulted in an increase in the number of zero-dose grains and evolution of the De distribution from unimodal to multimodal. In light of the very much longer shearing distances that sub-glacial sediment would endure in nature, these results would appear to suggest that geomechanical processes at the ice–bed interface of glaciers and ice sheets may be a viable mechanism for resetting sediment.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sanderson, Professor David
Authors: Bateman, M.D., Swift, D.A., Piotrowski, J.A., and Sanderson, D.C.W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Quaternary Geochronology
Published Online:13 December 2011

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