The ability of crystalline zircon (ZrSiO4) to incorporate and retain trace element and isotopic information, due to sluggish diffusion, makes it an indispensable tool for geochemists and geochronologists (Valley, this volume; Cherniak and Watson, this volume) in deciphering the Earth’s geologic history. The stability of crystalline zircon over long periods of geologic time led researchers to prefer this mineral for geochronology (Heaman and Parrish 1991, Dickin 1995, Davis et al., this volume; Parrish and Noble, this volume). In fact, much of what is known about the timing of major geologic events has been accomplished through...

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