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Better still, unlike radiocarbon dating, the effect luminescence dating measures increases with time.
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The energy released by stimulating the crystals is expressed in light (luminescence).
The intensity of blue, green or infrared light that is created when an object is stimulated is proportional to the number of electrons stored in the mineral's structure and, in turn, those light units are converted to dose units.
Electrons from these substances get trapped in the mineral's crystalline structure, and continuing exposure of the rocks to these elements over time leads to predictable increases in the number of electrons caught in the matrices.
But when the rock is exposed to high enough levels of heat or light, that exposure causes vibrations in the mineral lattices and the trapped electrons are freed.