TL dating is a matter of comparing the energy stored in a crystal to what "ought" to be there, thereby coming up with a date-of-last-heated.
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Luminescence dating refers to a group of methods of determining how long ago mineral grains were last exposed to sunlight or sufficient heating.
It is useful to geologists and archaeologists who want to know when such an event occurred.
This energy is lodged in the imperfect lattices of the mineral's crystals.
Heating these crystals (such as when a pottery vessel is fired or when rocks are heated) empties the stored energy, after which time the mineral begins absorbing energy again.
The flexibility of luminescence is a key complement to other chronometers such as radiocarbon or cosmogenic nuclides.
Careful sampling and correct selection of sample sites exert two of the strongest controls on obtaining an accurate luminescence age.
Two forms of luminescence dating are used by archaeologists to date events in the past: thermoluminescence (TL) or thermally stimulated luminescence (TSL), which measures energy emitted after an object has been exposed to temperatures between 400 and 500°C; and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), which measures energy emitted after an object has been exposed to daylight.
To put it simply, certain minerals (quartz, feldspar, and calcite), store energy from the sun at a known rate.
A global sensibility analysis is applied to know the importance of the parameters in the model.