Constraining the age of rock art by dating a rockfall event using sediment and rock-surface luminescence dating techniques

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  • Melissa Chapot, Utah State University, Department of Geology, United States
  • Reza Sohbati, Denmark
  • A.S. Murray
  • Joel Pederson, Utah State University, Department of Geology, United States
Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) is used to determine the age of a rockfall event that removed part of the pictograph figures at the Great Gallery rock art panel in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA. Analyses from the outer millimeter of the buried surface of a rockfall boulder and quartz grains from the underlying sediment both provide consistent ages that also agree with an AMS radiocarbon age of a cottonwood leaf found immediately between the clast and underlying sediment. Measurement of the OSL signals as a function of depth into the surface of the boulder clearly shows that there is no detectable increase in the OSL signal to a depth of at least 3 mm suggesting that the OSL signal was fully reset to this depth before burial. Consistent OSL and radiocarbon ages for this rockfall event provide a minimum age of w900 a for the Great Gallery, which is the type locality of Barrier Canyon Style rock art with a controversial and unknown origin.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQuaternary Geochronology
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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