Clastic sedimentary and low-grade metasedimentary rocks preserve populations of detrital zircons because of the unreactive nature of this mineral. However, evidence of new zircon growth has been found within highly heterogeneous populations of zircon from several greenschist facies slates from the Scottish Highlands. Small (<10 μm), anhedral, unzoned zircons and discrete overgrowths on rounded detrital grains are very common. These new fine-grained zircons have crystallized at temperatures below 350 °C and have been observed only in polished thin sections; they are absent from conventional mineral separates. Typical separation techniques create severe biases in the heavy-mineral populations of metasedimentary rocks, and recognition of the growth of zircon in such conditions may allow isotopic dating of low-temperature events.

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