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Cathodoluminescence (CL) images can be collected from zircon grains using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with the attached CL detector.
This technique allows for selecting locations of analyses spot in order to ensure that data are collected within a homogeneous zircon region.
We also offer bespoke dating of other mineral-isotope systems that may provide solutions to specific problems, including geochronological dating of igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology is a powerful technique used for studies of sand and sandstone provenance.
Geochronological techniques measure radioactive isotope systems in specific minerals, dating major tectonic events that affected those minerals and therefore source rocks feeding the sedimentary system.
As a result detrital geochronology tends to produce several ‘populations’ of similar-aged minerals and these can be interpreted to provide highly diagnostic provenance information.
The two decay chains used on zircon dating are the uranium series and the actinium series.
Its tendency to incorporate radioactive elements U and Th as well as low levels of Pb enables determinations of its crystallisation age to be determining using the U-Pb radioactive decay systems.As zircon is a resilient mineral that can survive through prolonged weathering, sedimentary transport, metamorphism and in some instances even mantle melting, its crystallisation age can be preserved through multiple sedimentary cycles, making zircon an ideal mineral for provenance studies, particularly in reworked sediments.