In situ U-Th-Pb geochronology was born some two decades ago with the introduction and development of high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS or SHRIMP [Sensitive High Mass Resolution Ion MicroProbe]; Compston et al. 1984, Williams 1998, Compston 1999, Davis et al.; this volume, Ireland and Williams, this volume). This technique clearly demonstrated the existence of age heterogeneities within the single crystals of zircon and other accessory phases and therefore the need for high-spatial resolution (tens to hundreds of cubic micrometers) geochronological data. In situ dating by ion probe is capable of achieving an analytical precision that is...

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