Factors that interfere with the age determination of rock varnish

D. H. Krinsley, Ronald Dorn, S. W. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Over the past few years the rock varnish literature has proliferated. More than a dozen research groups in at least six countries are now investigating the potential of rock varnish as a Quaternary dating technique for geomorphical and archaeological studies. New backscattered electron microscopy imagery of varnishes from southwestern North America illustrates the need for great caution in the selection of samples for all varnish dating methods. Nine general factors that may interfere with varnish dating are presented. For varnish dating to be successful, these factors must be evaluated by careful examination of samples in the field and by analyses of many cross-sections in the laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-119
Number of pages23
JournalPhysical Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990


  • Backscattered electron microscopy
  • Geochronology
  • Geomorphology
  • Quarternary dating methods
  • Rock varnish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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