Detrital zircon dating

Geochronology and thermochronology on detrital material provides unique constraints on sedimentary provenance, depositional ages, and orogenic evolution of source terrains. We present examples from Mesozoic aeolian sandstones, both modern and Paleogene fluvial sediments, and active margin turbidite assemblages from the Cascadia and Kamchatka margins.

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We analyzed a variety of samples including glaucophane-bearing pelitic schist from the Itsuki area in Kyushu and the Toba area on the Kii Peninsula, and quartzite from the Anan area in eastern Shikoku.

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.

In this paper we describe a method and case-studies of measurement of both U/Pb and (U-Th)/He ages on single crystals of zircon that improves the robustness of constraints in each of these areas by establishing both formation and cooling ages of single detrital grains.

We present examples from Mesozoic aeolian sandstones, both modern and Paleogene fluvial sediments, and active margin turbidite assemblages from the Cascadia and Kamchatka margins. AB - Geochronology and thermochronology on detrital material provides unique constraints on sedimentary provenance, depositional ages, and orogenic evolution of source terrains.

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 this paper we describe a method and case-studies of measurement of both U/Pb and (U-Th)/He ages on single crystals of zircon that improves the robustness of constraints in each of these areas by establishing both formation and cooling ages of single detrital grains.

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