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Rare earth elements in zircon: a review of applications and case studies from the Outer Hebridean Lewisian Complex, NW Scotland

Martin J. Whitehouse
Martin J. Whitehouse
Swedish Museum of Natural HistoryBox 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm,
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January 01, 2003


Rare earth element (REE) analysis of zircon coupled with high spatial resolution U-Pb geochronology and imaging is emerging as a useful petrogenetic tool capable of providing a link between dated zircon growth and contemporaneous magmatic conditions or metamorphic reactions. Notable amongst recent studies has been the link established between zircon growth in equilibrium with garnet and characteristic heavy REE depletion in zircon which has enabled the dating of specific pressure-temperature (P-T) evolution. Links to other REE-bearing minerals have yet to be established but have similar potential for dating P-T pathways. A brief review of recent applications in both igneous and metamorphic zircons is presented here to illustrate the range of investigations in this rapidly developing area. The method is then applied to two case studies from the late-Archaean Lewisian Composite Terrane of the Outer Hebrides, NW Scotland. In both cases, these new zircon REE analyses reveal previously unknown events in the early history of these samples, as well as clarifying the relationship of different zircon growth phases in relation to the geochronology.

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Figures & Tables


Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Geochronology: Linking the Isotopic Record with Petrology and Textures

D. Vance
D. Vance
Royal HollowayUniversity of London, UK
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W. Müller
W. Müller
The Australian National UniversityAustralia
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I. M. Villa
I. M. Villa
University of BernSwitzerland
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2003




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