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This is usually, but not always, the case with aeolian deposits, such as sand dunes and loess, and some water-laid deposits.

Single Quartz OSL ages can be determined typically from 100 to 350,000 years BP, and can be reliable when suitable methods are used and proper checks are done.

These methods also do not suffer from overestimation of dates when the sediment in question has been mixed with “old carbon”, or -deficient carbon that is not the same isotopic ratio as the atmosphere.These slowly decay over time and the ionizing radiation they produce is absorbed by mineral grains in the sediments such as quartz and potassium feldspar.The radiation causes charge to remain within the grains in structurally unstable "electron traps".Most luminescence dating methods rely on the assumption that the mineral grains were sufficiently "bleached" at the time of the event being dated.For example, in quartz a short daylight exposure in the range of 1–100 seconds before burial is sufficient to effectively “reset” the OSL dating clock.

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