Please contact us if you are interested in collaborations involving Luminescence analyses. We are not a contract lab, so prior contact is essential before sending samples.

Before collecting OSL samples, please read and follow the guides below. Scroll down to find our Sample Sheet.


Items to bring:

1. opaque metal conduit (DO NOT USE PVC)-- purchased and cut at hardware store, 1.5 x 8 ideally, may need end filed to sharpen
2. hammer to pound tube into outcrop
3. quart ziplock bag to collect dose-rate samples
4. film container (or other airtight) to collect for water content
5. duct tape to cap sample tube
6. good luxuries = pounding caps (pipe ends), styrofoam insulation plug in tube to prevent mixing of sediment, vinyl caps (Giddings core end caps), packing tape

Why we recommend STEEL tubes over PVC:

1. Difficulty with sample collection:

PVC and other plastic-based tubes tend to vibrate during pounding in dense sediment, rather than having the force drive the tube into the sediment, which causes mixing of light-exposed with non-exposed grains.
Wall thickness of PVC pipes are greater than metal pipes, leading to greater difficulty in sample collection, which may lead to incomplete filling of sample tubes. Incompletely filled and loosely packed tubes can lead to mixing of light-exposed sediment with the target sediment during transport and shipping.
Sharpened edges needed to cut into sediment are difficult to achieve on PVC tubes, requiring more force to drive in tube.

2. Not light proof:

Non-black PVC tubes are not 100% light-tight allowing light to penetrate and bleach the sediment within the tube. White and grey PCV tubes need to be wrapped in light-proof plastic/tinfoil immediately after collection.

3. Problems with end caps:

Commonly available end caps for PVC pipes are designed with headspace between the end of the tube and the cap -allowing sediment to mix after collection.
PVC end caps are tight fitting and difficult to remove in the dark lab, they can often remain stuck on the end of the tube when used as a pounding cap.
Use of tinfoil and duct tape to seal the ends of BLACK PVC pipe is recommended over use of end caps.

Additionally, we suggest avoiding soft metal tubes such as aluminum and copper as these tend to buckle when driven into sediment with a sledge hammer. ALSO, do not use threaded metal pipes as sediment in threads may contaminate sample during extraction.

Place sharpened end of tube, with styrofoam plug, at target point.
-target fine-medium sand with original sedimentary structures
-avoiding bioturbation and soils
-if possible, sample a thick unit with relatively uniform sediment within a foot radius
-sample depth MUST be >1 m below the landform top to minimize cosmogenic dose errors

Step 2: HAMMER
Pound sample tube into outcrop until you feel/hear change indicating tube is full.
Tube must be full and packed tightly to avoid mixing during transport.

Sample horizon for moisture content using an airtight container, fill completely.
Note evidence for ground or vadose water and describe expected water content history of the sampled deposit.

Sample for the environmental doserate into a 1-quart ziplock freezer bag.
Representatively capture sediment from ~1 foot radius surrounding the sample,
being particularly complete nearer the tube.

Before the tube falls out of its own accord, stop excavating around it and gently turn tube to loosen and extract. With open end of tube carefully pointed up, pack any extra space with more sediment, packing lightly. If greater than 1-cm needs to be added, lay a strip of duct tape in to mark beginning of sample before filling RECORD this on sample sheet and notes.

Step 6: CAP and TAPE
Place cap on end and tape both vertically and horizontally with at least two layers of duct tape. Turn tube over, removing pounding cap, fill if necessary, cap and tape.

Step 7: LABEL
Label tube, moisture sample and dose rate bag with sharpie. Give samples individual label, relatively simple in scheme, that relate to your specific project, not OSL-1.

Step 8: TAPE
Putting clear pakaging tape over tube and baggie labels to protect marker from wearing off and becoming indecipherable.

Put tube, moisture, and dose rate sample components into a seperate gallon ziplock baggie for orderly transport.

Stratigraphic context is important, of course. Depth of burial below the landform surface is needed to calculate cosmic dose rate. If there has been recent erosion or excavation, estimate original depth. If the sample was collected from a deposit indicating incremental accumulation and burial, make notes of the depth and significance of buried soil-surfaces. Record latitude, longitude, and elevation of the sample, also for calculation of the cosmic dose rate. Finally, record any other sedimentological observations of possible interest.


Send samples to:
USU Luminescence Lab
1770 North Research Parkway, Suite 123
North Logan, UT 84341

All samples should be labeled 'Light-sensitive mineral samples for geologic analysis. All material will be consumed in analysis. No monetary value'.

Email tracking number to Tammy or Michelle.

Please download our sampling guides and fill out a sample submittal sheet for each sample:

Download the Sample submittal sheet (pdf) or Sample submittal sheet (word doc) to be submitted with samples.

For high volume projects (n>5) download and submit the Excel sample sheet (.xlsx)

Download the Guide to OSL Sample Collection (pdf).

Download the OSL Sampling Do's and Don'ts Guide (pdf).