The Geography Department at UFV is the home of a luminescence dating laboratory, currently the only one of its kind in western Canada. Olav Lian, this NSERC-funded laboratory serves as a nexus for faculty, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research in Quaternary geology and geomorphology.
This research involves the collection of sediment samples in locations as diverse as Arctic Canada, BC's central coast, Australia, and Patagonia.
The laboratory absorbed, and replaced, the Optical and TL Dating Laboratory in the Physics Department at Simon Fraser University which closed due to the retirement of its director, Prof.
OSL dating can be used to determine the time since naturally occurring minerals, such as quartz and feldspar, were last exposed to light within the last few hundreds of thousands of years.
The OSL dating laboratory is located in the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences and is headed by Bert Roberts and Zenobia Jacobs.
It is recognised as one of the world’s leading archaeological dating laboratories, based on its track record of using OSL dating to answer internationally significant questions in archaeology and palaeoanthropology.
The laboratory welcomes visiting colleagues from other universities, and, from time to time, undertakes limited contract work.
It is one of the main methods used to establish the timing of key events in archaeology and human evolution, landscape and climate change, and palaeobiology in the latter half of the Quaternary.
The age is obtained by measuring the radiation dose received by the sample since it was last bleached by sunlight, and dividing this estimate by the dose rate from environmental sources of ionising radiation.
The new, state-of-the-art laboratory consists of separate rooms for the preparation and measurement of quartz and feldspar grains, as well as storage rooms for quarantined material.
All rooms are fitted with safelights, similar to a photographic darkroom.A full range of modern facilities are available to extract and purify quartz and feldspar grains for dating.