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In situ location and U‐Pb dating of small zircon grains in igneous rocks using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-quadrupole mass spectrometry


Sack, PJ and Berry, RF and Meffre, S and Falloon, TJ and Gemmell, JB and Friedman, RM, In situ location and U‐Pb dating of small zircon grains in igneous rocks using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-quadrupole mass spectrometry, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 12, (April) Article Q0AA14. ISSN 1525-2027 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1029/2010GC003405


A new U‐Pb zircon dating protocol for small (1050 mm) zircons has been developed using an automated searching method to locate zircon grains in a polished rock mount. The scanning electron microscopeenergy‐ dispersive X ray spectrum‐based automated searching method can routinely find in situ zircon grains larger than 5 mm across. A selection of these grains was ablated using a 10 mm laser spot and analyzed in an inductively coupled plasma‐quadrupole mass spectrometer (ICP‐QMS). The technique has lower precision (∼6% uncertainty at 95% confidence on individual spot analyses) than typical laser ablation ICP‐MS (∼2%), secondary ion mass spectrometry (<1%), and isotope dilution‐thermal ionization mass spectrometry (∼0.4%) methods. However, it is accurate and has been used successfully on fine‐grained lithologies, including mafic rocks from island arcs, ocean basins, and ophiolites, which have traditionally been considered devoid of dateable zircons. This technique is particularly well suited for medium‐ to fine‐grained mafic volcanic rocks where zircon separation is challenging and can also be used to date rocks where only small amounts of sample are available (clasts, xenoliths, dredge rocks). The most significant problem with dating small in situ zircon grains is Pb loss. In our study, many of the small zircons analyzed have high U contents, and the isotopic compositions of these grains are consistent with Pb loss resulting from internal a radiation damage. This problem is not significant in very young rocks and can be minimized in older rocks by avoiding high‐ U zircon grains.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:U-Pb dating LA ICP-MS zircons
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Geochronology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Sack, PJ (Mr Patrick Sack)
UTAS Author:Berry, RF (Associate Professor Ron Berry)
UTAS Author:Meffre, S (Dr Sebastien Meffre)
UTAS Author:Falloon, TJ (Dr Trevor Falloon)
UTAS Author:Gemmell, JB (Professor Bruce Gemmell)
ID Code:74867
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:38
Deposited By:Centre for Ore Deposit Research - CODES CoE
Deposited On:2011-12-14
Last Modified:2017-11-02
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