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The exposure to radioactive elements continues, and the minerals begin again storing free electrons in their structures.
If you can measure the rate of acquisition of the stored energy, you can figure out how long it has been since the exposure happened.
During the 1960s and 70s, the Oxford University Research Laboratory for Archaeology and History of Art led in the development of TL as a method of dating archaeological materials.
The possibility of making use of TL stored in a mineral or pottery sample was first proposed by chemist Farrington Daniels in the 1950s. The potential of using thermoluminescence to date buried soils developed on colluvial and fluvial sediments from Utah and Colorado, U. It is speculated that sedimentation within the study area since the LGM might have been related to sea level change, delta initiation, and incised-valley fill processes.East China is close to an extensive coastal sedimentary environment.From north to south, three semienclosed continental shelf marginal seas (the Bohai, Yellow, and East China seas) surround the land boundary and form the north–south oriented coastline.With sea level rise and fall, transgression and regression have alternately shifted the coastal belts.
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.