Abstract

Electron-microprobe (EMP) U-Th-Pb dating on polyphase and discordant monazites from polymetamorphic granulites of the Andriamena unit (north-central Madagascar) reveals inconsistent chemical ages. To explain these drastic variations, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) foils were prepared directly from thin sections by using the focused ion beam technique. The most important result of the TEM study is the demonstration of the presence of small (∼50 nm) Pb-rich domains where large variations in EMP ages occur. We suggest that radiogenic Pb was partially reincorporated in monazite during the recrystallization at 790 Ma. Because the excited volume of EMP is ∼4 μm3, U-Th-Pb dating yielded various apparent older ages without geological significance. In addition, TEM analysis of the foils revealed the presence of an ∼150-nm-wide amorphous zone along the grain boundary of monazite and its host quartz. This Fe-Si-Al–rich phase may have formed as a result of fluid activity at 500 Ma, and the phase's amorphous state may be due to the irradiation from U and Th decay in the monazite. This demonstrates for the first time the enormous potential of the TEM investigations on site-specific specimens prepared with the focused ion beam technique for the interpretation of geochronological data.

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