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Direct dating of gold by radiogenic helium: Testing the method on gold from Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Journal article
Authors Alexandre Raphael Cabral
Otto Eugster
Michael Brauns
Bernd Lehmann
Delia Rösel
Thomas Zack
Francisco Robério de Abreu
Ernst Pernicka
Matthias Barth
Published in Geology
Volume 41
Issue 2
Pages 163-166
ISSN 0091-7613
Publication year 2013
Published at
Pages 163-166
Language en
Subject categories Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Solid earth geology and petrology, Geology, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


New analytical developments have made radiogenic helium (4He) applicable to archeological gold artifacts for age determinations. Here we report the application of the U/Th–4He method to the direct dating of gold from the historically important gold deposit in Diamantina, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The U/Th–4He age of 515 ± 55 Ma for the Diamantina gold is corroborated by a new U/Pb age of 524 ± 16 Ma for rutile recovered from auriferous pockets. These ages tie the Diamantina gold mineralization to the Brasiliano orogenic event, in the context of the Gondwana amalgamation. Our results indicate that U/Th–4He dating of gold is possible, opening new perspectives for the dating of gold deposits without assuming contemporaneity between gold and datable hydrothermal minerals.

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