Improving precision of Sm-Nd garnet dating by H2SO4 leaching: a simple solution to the phosphate inclusion problem
Robert Anczkiewicz, Matthew F. Thirlwall, 2003. "Improving precision of Sm-Nd garnet dating by H2SO4 leaching: a simple solution to the phosphate inclusion problem", Geochronology: Linking the Isotopic Record with Petrology and Textures, D. Vance, W. Müller, I. M. Villa
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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.
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Isotope geochemistry has produced many technical developments in the past decade or so that have revolutionized the potential information available on the tectonics of metamorphic belts from geochronology. These include the ability to date minerals and rocks on small spatial scales, scales that at last approach those from which other types of information — structural and petrological — are obtained. However, interpreting the new data, and their integration with the other datasets available, is not straightforward and requires careful chemical and textural observations that go hand-inhand with the geochronology. The increasing realization of the importance of this approach has led to a number of symposia at international conferences devoted to this topic in recent years. The set of papers in this book emanates from one such symposium and describes recent progress in integrating this new information with other datasets from metamorphic petrology on a mineral and sub-mineral scale.