Assessing the potential for using biogenic calcites as dosemeters for luminescence dating

G. A. T. Duller*, K. E. H. Penkman, A. G. Wintle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (SciVal)


Calcium carbonate emits an intense thermoluminescence (TL) signal and previous work has explored the potential of using this signal to date both inorganic carbonates such as limestones and stalagmites and biogenic calcite produced by marine organisms. Luminescence analysis of biogenic calcites directly dates the secretion of the mineral by the organism and is therefore not reliant upon exposure of the sample to daylight. A method is outlined for using the TL signals from slug plates, from the Limacidae family, and opercula from the snail Bithynia tentaculata to construct a single-aliquot regenerative-dose growth curve. Analysis of slug plates from a number of Quaternary sites show that the equivalent dose (D e) of a late Holocene sample is close to zero and that the D e increases with age over the last 500 ka. The TL signal from snail opercula is shown to increase up to doses over 4000 Gy. Replicate measurements from 16 opercula from a site ∼220 ka show a broad distribution. Potential causes of this scatter are discussed along with recommendations about how it could be reduced. The major challenge which remains to be solved before slug plates or snail opercula could be used to calculate ages is to develop methods for calculating the dose rate received during burial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-433
Number of pages5
JournalRadiation Measurements
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2009
Event12th International Conference on Luminescence and Electron Spin Resonance - Beijing
Duration: 18 Sept 200822 Sept 2008


  • Slug plates
  • Snail opercula
  • Geochronology
  • Thermoluminescence


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