Detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology: current methods and new opportunities

  • Gehrels G
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Abstract

Detrital zircon geochronology is rapidly evolving into a very powerful tool for deter-mining the provenance and maximum depositional age of clastic strata. This rapid evolution is being driven by the increased availability of ion probes and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectrometers, which are able to generate ages efficiently and with sufficient accuracy for most applications. Although large numbers of detrital zircon ages are generated each year, significant uncertainties remain in how data are acquired, which ages are used, how data are plotted, and how age distributions are compared. Improvements in current methods may come from enhanced precision/ accuracy of age determinations, better tools for extracting critical information from age spectra, abilities to determine other types of information (e.g., Hf, O, Li isotope signatures, rare earth element (REE) patterns, cooling ages, structural information) from the dated grains, and availability of a database that provides access to detrital zircon age determinations from sedimentary sequences around the world.

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Authors

  • George E Gehrels

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