US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Quaternary International 199 (2009) 92–103


This paper contains the results of the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) datingused to establish stratigraphic ages and relationships of eolian sediments in a trench in northeastern Colorado,USA. This trench was located in the upper face of the Anton scarp, a major topographic lineament trending NW–SE for a distance of 135 km, in anticipation of intersecting near-surface faulting. The trench was 180 m long, 4.5–6.0 m deep, and exposed 22 m of stratigraphic section, most of which dipped gently west and was truncated by gulley channeling at the face of the scarp. No direct evidence of faulting was found in the upper trench. The stratigraphy from the trench was described, mapped and dated using OSL on quartz and potassium feldspar, and 14C obtained from woody material. OSL dating identified two upper loess units as Peoria Loess and Gilman Canyon Loess, deposited between 16 and 30 ka ago. The bottom layers of the trench were substantially older, giving OSL ages in excess of 100ka. These older ages are interpreted as underestimates, owing to saturation of the fast component of OSL.

Using OSL and 14C dating, we can constrain the erosion and down cutting of the scarp face as occurring between 16 and 5.7ka. As the trenching investigation continues in other parts of the scarp face, the results of this preliminary study will be of importance in relating the ages of the strata that underlie different parts of the scarp, and in determining whether Quaternary faulting was a mechanism that contributed to the formation of this regional geomorphic feature.