Dating quartz grains
This is useful for exploring the complex patterns generated by summing the signals from many grains in real, multiple grain OSL dating scenarios, and demonstrates that the form of the sensitivity distribution has a significant effect on the identification of mixed dose populations in multiple grain single aliquot methods.
I describe the simple numerical model and its implementation.
The discovery of radioactivity in 1896 by Henri Becquerel, the isolation of radium by Marie Curie shortly thereafter, the discovery of the radioactive decay laws in 1902 by Ernest Rutherford and Frederick Soddy, the discovery of isotopes in 1910 by Soddy, and the development of the quantitative mass spectrograph in 1914 by J. Thomson all formed the foundation of modern isotopic dating methods.
But it was not until the late 1950s that all the pieces were in place; by then the phenomenon of radioactivity was understood, most of the naturally occurring isotopes had been identified and their abundance determined, instrumentation of the necessary sensitivity had been developed, isotopic tracers were available in the required quantities and purity, and the half-lives of the long-lived radioactive isotopes were reasonably well known.
Until the 18th century, this question was principally in the hands of theologians, who based their calculations on biblical chronology.
When sediments cover an archaeological site they are exposed to light and the mineral grains are bleached.
Such events can be dated by luminescence methods and the age employed to determine the age of an archaeological site through its related sediments.
There are a number of long-lived radioactive isotopes used in radiometric dating, and a variety of ways they are used to determine the ages of rocks, minerals, and organic materials.
Some of the isotopic parents, end-product daughters, and half-lives involved are listed in Table 1.