Advances in the chronometry of major minerals — prograde histories
Sm-Nd garnet geochronology is often hampered by the presence of submicroscopic inclusions of rare earth element-rich phosphates, which lower age precision, lead to inaccurate ages or make dating impossible. We propose a single-step sulphuric acid leaching technique as a very efficient tool in eliminating phosphate inclusions, which helps to achieve more precise and more accurate Sm-Nd garnet dates. Examples from silimanite grade metapelites demonstrate the much higher efficiency of this method in comparison with previously proposed techniques based on HF and HCl. 147Sm/144Nd ratios obtained on garnets leached by sulphuric acid were twice as high as those obtained by HF and HCl leaching. This led to age precision better than 3% for Tertiary samples. Comparison of leached and unleached nearly inclusion-free garnets from high pressure granulites, demonstrates that there is no Sm/Nd fractionation induced by H2SO4 leaching. Our new technique eliminates phosphates, but does not attack garnet. This considerably reduces the necessity for hand-picking and lowers the amount of sample required for analysis making Sm-Nd garnet dating a more easily applied geochronometer.