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Obsidian hydration dating limitations

Once an archeologist can control for the geochemical signature of the obsidian (e.g., the "source") and temperature (usually approximated using an "effective hydration temperature" or EHT coefficient), he or she may be able to date the artifact using the obsidian hydration technique.

Water vapor pressure may also affect the rate of obsidian hydration.

In essence it is a technique with a large resolution on a plethora of chemical elements and molecular structures in an essentially non destructive manner.

An approach to OHD with a completely new rationale suggests that refinement of the technique is possible in a manner which improves both its accuracy and precision and potentially expands the utility by generating reliable chronological data. presented a model which relied solely on compositionally-dependent diffusion, following numerical solutions (finite difference (FD), or finite element) elaborating on the H profile acquired by SIMS.

The use of Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) in the measurement of obsidian hydration dating was introduced by two independent research teams in 2002.

To measure the hydration band, a small slice of material is typically cut from an artifact.

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The technician measures the microscopic amount of water absorbed on freshly broken surfaces.

The principle behind obsidian hydration dating is simple–the longer the artifact surface has been exposed, the thicker the hydration band will be.

Although relatively infrequent the use of SIMS on obsidian surface investigations has produced great progress in OHD dating.

SIMS in general refers to four instrumental categories according to their operation; static, dynamic, quadrupole, and time-of-flight, TOF.

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The first step concerns the calculation of a 3rd order fitting polynomial of the SIMS profile (eq.1).