• glacial environments;
  • Norway;
  • optically stimulated luminescence dating;
  • sediment bleaching;
  • transport and depositional processes


The application of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating within glacial settings can be limited where sediments have not had their OSL signal fully reset by sunlight exposure. Heterogeneous bleaching can result in age overestimations, and although it is recognized that certain depositional settings are more likely to have experienced sufficient sunlight exposure to bleach the OSL signal, no comprehensive study has empirically investigated the processes of sediment bleaching, or the variability in bleaching between deposits of the same type and within the same glacial catchment. A suite of modern glacial and glaciofluvial sediments from Fåbergstølsdalen, southern Norway, have been analysed to explore the controls that sedimentary processes and depositional setting have on bleaching of the OSL signal of quartz. There is considerable variability in the residual OSL ages of similar modern deposits, which reflects high sensitivity of the OSL signal to sediment source, sedimentary process, transport distance and depositional setting. Overdispersion values are greatest for the sediments which have been most heterogeneously bleached and these sediments have the lowest residual ages. Sampling strategies that incorporate sufficient consideration of the depositional framework of sample settings can minimize the effects of unbleached residuals on OSL age determinations.