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Laser ablation Rb/Sr dating by online chemical separation of Rb and Sr in an oxygen-filled reaction cell

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Thomas Zack
Johan Hogmalm
Publicerad i Chemical Geology
Volym 437
Sidor 120-133
ISSN 0009-2541
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper
Sidor 120-133
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.0...
Ämnesord Geochronology, Rubidium-strontium dating, LA-ICP-MS, Reaction cells, inductively-coupled plasma, fluid-rock interaction, dynamic reaction, cell, la-icp-ms, isotopic analysis, isobaric interferences, geological-materials, reaction chemistry, age-determination, decay, constants, Geochemistry & Geophysics
Ämneskategorier Geovetenskap och miljövetenskap


The Rb-Sr beta-decay dating system is one of the most attractive tools in geochronology, as Rb is sufficiently abundant in common K-bearing minerals like biotite, muscovite and K-feldspar. This allows dating of a wide variety of rocks (e.g., volcanic, magmatic, metamorphic, sedimentary and hydrothermal environments) without the need of preconcentration, as is often required for U-Pb dating of zircon. However, this advantage was to date negatively counteracted by the lack of a suitable in-situ technique, as beta decay systems by nature have isobaric interferences of the daughter isotope by their respective parent isotope. A reaction cell sandwiched between two quadrupoles within an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) allows exactly this, the online chemical separation of two different elements. Coupled to a laser ablation (LA) system, in-situ Rb-Sr dating is therefore possible if a suitable reaction gas within the reaction cell can be found that separates Sr from Rb. We present here a simple procedure in which Rb-Sr ages can be obtained from a suite of individual phases in regular thin sections. Using the most established reaction gas, oxygen (O-2), it is possible to react part of the ablated Sr to SrO+ while no RbO+ is formed. Measurements of feldspars andmicas with a spot size of 80 mu m were calibrated against glass standards NIST SRM 610, BCR-2G and biotite from La Posta (California; 91.6 Ma). Results are presented for a variety of magmatic rocks with well-established thermal records: a sample each from the Klokken syenodiorite (Greenland; 1161 Ma), the Ulvo alkaligabbro (Sweden; 1256 Ma) and a pegmatite from the Bohus granite (Sweden; 920 Ma). Obtained in situ Rb-Sr isochron ages are accurate <1.5%, while initial Sr-87/Sr-86 ratios are accurate <0.2% compared to published data. The methodology outlined in this study has significant implications for Rb-Sr studies due to the high spatial resolution: (1) quality of measurements can be better controlled by avoiding alterations and inclusions, (2) large sample numbers can be investigated simply by using regular thin sections, (3) several mineral generations can be targeted that would not be distinguishable in mineral separates, and (4) isotope zonation within single crystals can be revealed. This will open the Rb-Sr dating system to new fields of study. For example, thermochronologic studies can use Sr-87/Sr-86 and Rb-87/Sr-86 zonation within crystals to better work out cooling and/or reheating paths. Further applications are in the field of provenance studies and temporal evolution of shear zones.

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