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Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating as a geochronological tool for Late Quaternary sediments in the Red Sea region

, and . Geological Setting, Palaeoenvironment and Archaeology of the Red Sea, (2019)

Abstract

This chapter concerns the use of luminescence methods as geochronological tools for dating Late Quaternary sediments in the Red Sea region. The dating methods all use stimulated luminescence to register signals developed in mineral systems in response to long term exposure to ionising radiation in the environment. The principles of luminescence dating are outlined followed by discussion of its application to the Arabian Peninsula, where, particularly in SE Arabia and parts of the interior, a growing corpus of work is emerging, which is helping to define past arid or humid periods of importance to palaeoclimatology and to archaeology. Turning to the Red Sea, studies conducted within the DISPERSE project are presented both in marine and terrestrial settings. The motivation for much of this work concerns definition of the environmental conditions and chronologies for hominin and human dispersion through Arabia. Data are presented which identify, for the first time, late Pleistocene evidence on the inner continental shelf near the Farasan Islands, using material from the 2013 cruise of RV AEGAEO. Results are also presented from the littoral fringe of southwest Saudi Arabia, identifying units associated with MIS5 which have palaeo-environmental and archaeological significance. It is to be hoped that further research in coming decades will continue to extend the regional chronology for the littoral fringe of the Red Sea. In this respect, luminescence dating has the potential to help define the environmental history of this important area, to assist with assigning marine and terrestrial features into unique stages of Quaternary climate cycles, and to promote better understanding of human-environment interactions in this dynamic area.

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DOI:
10.1007/978-3-319-99408-6_31
BibTeX key:
sanderson2019optically
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