Abstract

Titanium diffusion profiles in natural quartz crystals have become an increasingly popular tool to reconstruct the time scales of various magmatic, metamorphic, and hydrothermal processes. However, the original calibration of Ti diffusion rates in quartz has recently been challenged, and diffusivities were found to be about three orders of magnitude lower. We performed annealing experiments on crystal-crystal diffusion couples consisting of Ti-free synthetic quartz seeds over which Ti-rich quartz (100–3000 µg/g Ti) was grown hydrothermally. The annealing experiments were performed at 1000–1600 °C and 0.1 MPa to 2.0 GPa, and they lasted for 3–84 days. The resulting diffusion profiles were mapped by cathodoluminescence (CL), transmission electron microscope–energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (TEM-EDXS), and, for the first time, by helium ion microscope–secondary ion mass spectrometry (HIM-SIMS). Obtained diffusion coefficients range from values similar to the lower range in previous research to values up to two orders of magnitude lower. In addition, inversely zoned quartz and sanidine phenocrysts in a natural rhyolite were studied. Comparison of the diffusion profiles suggests that at ~735 °C, the Ti diffusivity in quartz is ~1.5 and 3.0 orders of magnitude lower than that of Ba and Sr, respectively, in sanidine. The combined evidence confirms that Ti diffusion in quartz is very slow, potentially even slower than proposed earlier. Consequently, previous time scales derived from Ti diffusion profiles in quartz are likely orders of magnitude too short, and further experiments are necessary to fully clarify the issue.

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