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Geochronology Advances in geochronological science
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https://doi.org/10.5194/gchron-2019-21
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gchron-2019-21
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 29 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 29 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GChron.

Baddeleyite microtextures and U-Pb discordance: insights from the Spread Eagle Intrusive Complex and Cape St. Mary’s sills, Newfoundland, Canada

Johannes E. Pohlner1,2, Axel K. Schmitt1, Kevin R. Chamberlain3,4, Joshua H. F. L. Davies5,6, Anne Hildenbrand1, and Gregor Austermann1 Johannes E. Pohlner et al.
  • 1Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 234-236, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2Unit of Earth Sciences, Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Chemin du Musée 6, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071-2000, USA
  • 4Faculty of Geology and Geography, Tomsk State University, Tomsk 634050, Russia
  • 5Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Québec at Montréal, 201, Avenue du Président Kennedy, H2X 3Y7, Montreal, QC, Canada
  • 6Department of Earth Sciences, University of Geneva, Rue des Maraîchers 13, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland

Abstract. Baddeleyite (ZrO2) is widely used in U-Pb geochronology, but different patterns of discordance often hamper accurate age interpretations. This is also the case for baddeleyite from the Spread Eagle Intrusive Complex (SEIC) and Cape St. Mary’s sills (CSMS) from Newfoundland, which we investigated combining high precision and high spatial resolution methods. Literature data and our own observations suggest that at least seven different types of baddeleyite–zircon intergrowths can be distinguished in nature, among which we describe xenocrystic zircon inclusions in baddeleyite for the first time. Baddeleyite 207Pb/206Pb dates from secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS) and isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) are in good agreement with each other and with stratigraphic data, but some SIMS sessions of grain mounts show reverse discordance. This suggests that matrix differences between references and unknowns biased the U-Pb relative sensitivity calibration, possibly due to crystal orientation effects, or due to alteration of the baddeleyite crystals, which is indicated by unusually high common Pb contents. ID-TIMS data for SEIC and CSMS single baddeleyite crystals reveal normal discordance as linear arrays with decreasing 206Pb/238U dates, indicating that their discordance is dominated by recent Pb loss due to fast pathway or volume diffusion. Hence, 207Pb/206Pb dates are more reliable than 206Pb/238U dates even for Phanerozoic baddeleyite. Negative lower intercepts of baddeleyite discordias and direct correlations between ID-TIMS 207Pb/206Pb dates and degree of discordance indicate preferential 206Pb loss, possibly due to 222Rn mobilization. In such cases, the most reliable crystallization ages are concordia upper intercept dates or weighted means of the least discordant 207Pb/206Pb dates.

We regard the best estimates of the intrusion ages to be 498.7 ± 4.5 Ma (2σ; ID-TIMS upper intercept date for one SEIC dike) and 439.4 ± 0.8 Ma (ID-TIMS weighted mean 207Pb/206Pb date for one sill of CSMS). Sample SL18 of the Freetown Layered Complex, Sierra Leone (associated with the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province) was investigated as an additional reference. For SL18, we report a revised 201.07 ± 0.64 Ma intrusion age, based on a weighted mean 207Pb/206Pb date of previous and new baddeleyite ID-TIMS data, agreeing well with corresponding SIMS data. Increasing discordance with decreasing crystal size in SL18 indicates that Pb loss affected baddeleyite rims more strongly than cores. Employment of SIMS or mechanical abrasion prior to ID-TIMS analysis may therefore produce more concordant baddeleyite data. We emphasize that the combination of high precision and high spatial resolution dating, along with detailed microscale imaging of baddeleyite, is powerful for extracting reliable age information from baddeleyite from rocks with a complex post-magmatic evolution.

Johannes E. Pohlner et al.

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Johannes E. Pohlner et al.

Johannes E. Pohlner et al.

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Short summary
Baddeleyite (ZrO2) is a commonly used mineral in U-Pb dating, but limited insight into discordance makes age interpretation difficult. We show that preferential 206Pb loss plays an important role for baddeleyite discordance, and present strategies to obtain more accurate ages by high precision and high spatial resolution methods. Based on microtextural observations, we present an interpretation guideline that helps to distinguish among seven different types of baddeleyite-zircon intergrowths.
Baddeleyite (ZrO2) is a commonly used mineral in U-Pb dating, but limited insight into...
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