Fission-Track Thermochronology and its Application to Geology

Fission-Track Thermochronology and its Application to Geology

Skip to content. Skip to navigation. In geology, thermochronologists investigate temperature-histories of rocks. One way to investigate cooling of rocks is Helium-dating. The radioactive isotopes Uranium, Uranium, Thorium and Samarium, which can be found in many minerals, decay via alpha-decay and thus produce alpha-particles 4 He atoms in the process. But only if the crystal or rock in which the crystal is found is below a certain temperature the so called ‘closure temperature’. If the temperature is higher vibrations of the crystal lattice framework of atoms that make up the crystal allows the Helium to be lost through diffusion. So: if I measure both apatites and zircons found in the same rock with this method I will be able to tell when the rock was last at a temperature of 70 o C and o C – or in other words at depths of about 2km and 6km beneath the surface. The second method I am using uses spontaneous fission of U into two smaller atoms with masses between and


The lab manager supports user training, sample processing, equipment maintenance, and planning and design in both labs. The He dating lab at the UofA supports training and analyses for diverse projects and workshops involving both external and internal PIs, undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and faculty.

The lab conducts research in tectonic and geomorphic applications and experimental development and innovative applications of He dating. It performs experiments necessary for dating and interpreting He ages of unexplored phases, improved analytical methods, and applying He dating to a range of novel problems such as surface wildfire, detrital studies, and meteorite thermal histories. In addition to supporting He dating operations for both internal and external users, the technician support proposed here will provide for routine high-resolution sector ICP-MS analyses and training to a broad spectrum of users internal and external to the University of Arizona.

It was Ernest Rutherford who first proposed that the U-Th-He decay scheme could be used as an absolute dating technique, making it the oldest radiometric.

It is widely believed that much of the SE Asian region has experienced large-scale uplift and erosion during the Cenozoic. In many places Cenozoic sedimentation is notable only by its absence, material presumed to be lost to the regions unusually deep sedimentary basins. Thermochronology provides a method of quantifying the magnitude and timing of rock uplift and erosion experienced across the region. By combining the results of analyses upon different minerals, and using different isotopic systems, it is thus possible to model the thermal history of an individual rock sample.

The SE Asia Research Group is actively involved in maintaining the rock crushing, sedimentary processing and mineral separation facilites required to go from sample to laboratory analyses. Click here for more information on the facilities. Much of our thermochronological work is done in conjunction with collaborators from other institutions. Granites, such as these boulders from the Malay Peninsula, provide a mineralogy ideal for thermochronology via multiple minerals.

In turn this information can provide vital information about the rates of uplift and erosion a region has experienced, providing clues to the driving forces and processes behind it, and the magnitude and timing of erosion from a given region. We have recently started to investigate the recent exhumation of the Se Asian region, beginning with the peninsular region of Malaysia.

Max Webb et al.

Facilities & Equipment

Skip to Content. James Metcalf. This automated He extraction and analysis system, optimized for reliably charac- terizing small gas amounts, is the heart of the CU TRaIL. Samples are loaded into an ultra-high vacuum chamber with a sapphire viewport attached to an automated stage.

thermochronology, including zircon fission-track (ZFT), apatite fission-track (AFT) and apatite U–Th/He dating (AHe). Multiple age pairs on the same samples.

We should attach importance to conservation and changes of ore deposits besides metallogenic environment, ore deposit model and origin research. The conservation is closely related to uplifting and denudation so that to recover histories of uplifting and denudation for ore districts could reveal conservation and changes of mineral deposits.

By applying fission track thermochronology, this chapter presents a research sample to discuss the issue, especially the relative technical method, and provides evidences for both deep ore prospecting and mineralizing potentiality evaluation. Meanwhile, dating mineralizing age is another frontier topic in the world. The author successfully applied fission track thermochronology to determining the mineralizing ages and epochs of the hydrothermal deposits. Steps and methods of achieving these goals are shown in detail.

Geologists could take this chapter as a reference tool. Contributions to Mineralization. How to confirm mineralizing age and epoch of hydrothermal ore deposits is a frontier issue to research on mineralization in present-day world. The uncertainty of mineralization epoch highly restricts the deep research on the mineralization regularities, deposit origin, prospective prediction, and relationship between mineralization and tectonic thermal event.

As a new technique method, fission track FT thermochronology has definite superiority for dating mineralizing age and epoch.

Volume 58: Low-Temperature Thermochronology: Techniques, Interpretations, and Applications

During the last 10 years the understanding of the diffusion behavior of He in apatite has been increased Lippolt et al. The concept of He-diffusion in apatite assumes that the diffusion path a is the grain size. Therefore, the geometry A of the mineral grain is very important Meesters and Dunai, a, b. The closure temperature concept is only appropriate for uniform and moderate to rapid cooling from temperatures corresponding to complete He diffusive loss to complete He retention.

Wolf et al.

Thermochronology is the study of dating the cooling of rocks through exhumation. In its simplest form, thermochronology can be considered to date the moment.

This book is focused on the basics of applying thermochronology to geological and tectonic problems, with the emphasis on fission-track thermochronology. It is conceived for relatively new practitioners to thermochronology, as well as scientists experienced in the various methods. The book is structured in two parts.

Part I is devoted to the fundamentals of the fission-track method, to its integration with other geochronologic methods, and to the basic principles of statistics for fission-track dating and sedimentology applied to detrital thermochronology. Part I also includes the historical development of the technique and thoughts on future directions. Part II is devoted to the geological interpretation of the thermochronologic record.

The thermal frame of reference and the different approaches for the interpretation of fission-track data within a geological framework of both basement and detrital studies are discussed in detail. Separate chapters demonstrate the application of fission-track thermochronology from various perspectives e. Springer Professional. Back to the search result list. This chapter reviews the background, beginnings and early development of fission-track FT thermochronology.

In the s, it was discovered that uranium would break into two lighter products when bombarded with neutrons and, subsequently, that uranium was capable of natural, spontaneous fission. The fission process produced damage tracks in solid-state detectors, which could be revealed by chemical etching and observed by electron and, later, by optical microscopy. Application to dating of natural and man-made glass was frustrated by low-uranium content and relative ease of track fading annealing.


The signals from K-feldspar have provided multiple thermometers for thermochronological study. These two protocols were further applied to the samples from the Nujiang River valley and both explicitly demonstrated the thermal history of the samples. They are suitable for K-feldspar thermochronology study.

This paper presents low-temperature thermochronological data and K-Ar fault gouge Thermal modelling based on (U-Th)/He dating of apatite and zircon and​.

Lawrence W. Snee, John F. Sutter, William C. Economic Geology ; 83 2 : — Muscovite samples with an age difference as small as 2. Statistics are even better for comparison of multiple samples from separate events; that is, a difference of 0. The major tin and tungsten ore-forming stages, which are the oxide-silicate stage, the main sulfide stage, and greisenization, occurred between The first substage of the oxide-silicate stage was a short-lived thermal pulse at The main sulfide stage was active at A second substage of the oxide-silicate stage occurred as a short-lived thermal pulse at

(U-Th)/(He-Pb) double dating of detrital zircons

The most important of these methods are the U-Th-He 7. Thus, not only Pb content, but also the He content increases relative to U and Th through time, forming the basis of the U-Th-He chronometer: 7. It was Ernest Rutherford who first proposed that the U-Th-He decay scheme could be used as an absolute dating technique, making it the oldest radiometric chronometer. This was correctly attributed to the volatile nature of the helium atom, which diffuses out of most minerals at low temperatures and therefore yields only minimum ages.

Let C x,y,z be the He-concentration as a function of the spatial coordinates x, y and z.

Detrital thermochronology is a useful technique that measures thermochronologic dates on sediment (either modern or preserved in sedimentary rocks) to.

Geochronology and thermochronology on detrital material provides unique constraints on sedimentary provenance, depositional ages, and orogenic evolution of source terrains. Typically these ages correspond to crystallization and exhumation or eruption ages, and their combination can be used to more confidently resolve candidate source terrains, establish maximum depositional ages, and constrain the thermal histories of orogenic source regions.

We present examples from Mesozoic aeolian sandstones, both modern and Paleogene fluvial sediments, and active margin turbidite assemblages from the Cascadia and Kamchatka margins. Important results include the fact that detritus from ancient orogens may dominate sediments thousands of kilometers away, crustal melting and exhumation appear to be spatially-temporally decoupled in at least two orogens, and first-cycle volcanic zircons older than depositional age are surprisingly rare in most settings except in the continental interior.

In the case of the Kamchatkan, and possibly Olympic, turbidites, zircon He ages are partially reset. User Name Password Sign In. Abstract Geochronology and thermochronology on detrital material provides unique constraints on sedimentary provenance, depositional ages, and orogenic evolution of source terrains.

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Research Methods – Thermochronology

Mineralogical Society of America , Founded December 30, The publication of this volume occurs at the one-hundredth anniversary of , which has been called the annus mirabilus because it was the year of a number of enormous scientific advances. Also of significance in was the first application of another major advance in physics, which dramatically changed the fields of Earth and planetary science.

Fission-track (FT) thermochronology can be integrated with the U–Pb and (U–Th​)/He dating methods. All three radiometric dating methods can be applied to.

Low temperature thermochronometry LTT dating is a powerful tool in geoscience, used worldwide, to provide unique information on the thermal history of rocks. Using these insights geologists can achieve a better understanding of geological processes that have occurred over million year timescales even in settings where erosion has removed much of the geological record.

Despite the success of these techniques in tackling geological problems, there still exists a major gap in our knowledge over the fundamental principles that underlie these dating systems. Much of this uncertainty stems from an incomplete understanding of inter and intra-crystal compositional variation and the influence this has on the kinetics of the dating system.

The lower temperature limit of this range is also dependant on apatites having low degrees of radiation damage that can enhance retention of He within apatite. This project will advance AFT and AHe methodology by focusing on apatites enriched in U and Th from geological settings considered stable. The second goal is to ensure that the maximum amount of thermal history information is extract from the 4He concentration profile in the apatite crystal. By achieving these two goals the project will advance methodology, establish analytical capabilities at the host organisation and provide new insights into the thermal history of the crust at stable geological settings.

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Geochronology & Thermochronology

Here we present a series of date and diffusion measurements that document the importance of alpha dose, which we interpret to be correlated with accumulated radiation damage, on He diffusivity. Between 1. We interpret these two trends with a model that describes the increasing tortuosity of diffusion pathways with progressive damage accumulation, which in turn causes decreases in He diffusivity at low damage.

for dating volcanic rocks by low-temperature thermochronology and for and U-Pb double datingJournal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.

The Earth System Dynamics research group maintains several different laboratories used to quantify interactions between the lithosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere at the Earth’s surface. Interested parties should contact Todd Ehlers. Rock cooling histories can be significantly influenced by erosion and topography.

We use low-temperature thermochronology to quantify the deformation, erosion, and paleotopographic history of orogens. All facilities required for high-quality mineral separations are available in house. Leica and Olympus high-end stereo and cross-polarized binocular microscopes are available for sample preparation. Following sample preparation, apatite and zircon samples are degassed using a Patterson instruments extraction line with a diode laser and quadrupole mass spectrometer.

This is Geochronology – Pieter Vermeesch

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