Obsidian hydration dating limitations

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The principle behind obsidian hydration dating is simplethe longer the artifact surface has been exposed, the thicker the hydration band will be.In case of measuring the hydration rim using the depth profiling ability of the secondary ion mass spectrometry technique, the sample is mounted on a holder without any preparation or cutting. There are two general SIMS modes: static mode and dynamic mode, depending on the primary ion current density, and three different types of mass spectrometers: magnetic sector, quadrupole and time-of-flight (TOF).We use cookies to make interactions with our website easy and meaningful, to better understand the use of our services, and to tailor advertising.For further information, including about cookie settings, please read our Cookie Policy .The hydration rind is then measured under a high-power microscope outfitted with some method for measuring distance, typically in tenths of micrometers.The technician measures the microscopic amount of water absorbed on freshly broken surfaces.As well, obsidian chemistry, including the intrinsic water content, seems to affect the rate of hydration.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.

In fact, the saturation layer on the surface forms up to a certain depth depending on factors that include the kinetics of the diffusion mechanism for the water molecules, the specific chemical structure of obsidian, as well as the external conditions affecting diffusion (temperature, relative humidity, and pressure).

Their initial work focused on obsidians from archaeological sites in western North America.

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