The chronology of the Holocene and late Pleistocene deposits of the northeastern Mojave Desert have been largely obtained using radiocarbon ages. Our study refines and extends this framework using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) to date deposits from Valjean Valley, Silurian Lake Playa, Red Pass, and California Valley. Of particular interest are eolian fine silts incorporated in ground-water discharge (GWD) deposits bracketed at 185-140 and 20-50 ka. Alluvial fan deposits proved amenable for OSL by dating both eolian sand lenses and reworked eolian sand in a matrix of gravel that occurs within the fan stratigraphy. Lacustrine sand in spits and bars also yielded acceptable OSL ages. These OSL ages fill gaps in the geochronology of desert deposits, which can provide data relevant to understanding the responses of several depositional systems to regional changes in climate. This study identifies the most promising deposits for future luminescence dating and suggests that for several regions of the Mojave Desert, sediments from previously undated landforms can be more accurately placed within correct geologic map units.
Additional publication details
Late Quaternary stratigraphy and luminescence geochronology of the northeastern Mojave Desert