We summarize the results of a test on the potential of optical dating for the age assessment of Late Quaternary deep-sea sediments. Our approach combines a single aliquot regeneration (SAR) protocol for equivalent dose (D-e) estimation on fine silt-sized quartz with a time-dependent evaluation of supported and unsupported long-lived radioisotopes within the deposited sediment matrix. For this purpose nine samples from two independently dated deep-sea cores from the Indian Ocean were obtained. The SAR analysis resulted in mean D-e estimates with precisions ranging from 0.9% to 3.7%. Combination of these data with measured radioisotope concentrations resulted in stratigraphically sensible ages ranging from ca 7 to 120 ka. These ages exhibit good agreement with existing chronologies for the cores based on radiocarbon age determinations and correlation of key volcanic, palaeoecological and isotopic events. Optical dating may provide an important additional dating method for Late Quaternary deep-sea sediments. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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