In situ U-Pb rutile dating by LA-ICP-MS: Pb-208 correction and prospects for geological applications

Thomas Zack*, Daniel F. Stockli, George L. Luvizotto, Matthias G. Barth, Elena Belousova, Melissa R. Wolfe, Richard W. Hinton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Citations (Scopus)


Rutile is a common accessory mineral that occurs in a wide spectrum of metamorphic rocks, such as in blueschists, eclogites, and granulites and as one of the most stable detrital heavy minerals in sedimentary rocks. The advent of rutile trace element thermometry has generated increased interest in a better understanding of rutile formation. This study documents important analytical advances in in situ LA-ICP-MS U/Pb geochronology of rutile: (1) Matrix matching, necessary for robust in situ dating is fulfilled by calibrating and testing several rutile standards (R10, R19, WH-1), including the presentation of new TIMS ages for the rutile standard R19 (489.5 ± 0.9 Ma; errors always stated as 2 s). (2) Initial common lead correction is routinely applied via 208Pb, which is possible due to extremely low Th/U ratios (usually <0.003) in most rutiles. Employing a 213 nm Nd:YAG laser coupled to a quadrupole ICP-MS and using R10 as a primary standard, rutile U/Pb concordia ages for the two other rutile standards (493 ± 10 Ma for R19; 2640 ± 50 Ma for WH-1) and four rutile-bearing metamorphic rocks (181 ± 4 Ma for Ivrea metapelitic granulite; 339 ± 7 Ma for Saidenbach coesite eclogite; 386 ± 8 Ma for Fjortoft UHP metapelite; 606 ± 12 Ma for Andrelandia metepelitic granulite) always agree within 2% with the reported TIMS ages and other dating studies from the same localities. The power of in situ U/Pb rutile dating is illustrated by comparing ages of detrital rutile and zircon from a recent sediment from the Christie Domain of the Gawler Craton, Australia. While the U/Pb age spectrum from zircons show several pronounced peaks that are correlated with magmatic episodes, rutile U/Pb ages are marked by only one pronounced peak (at ca 1,675 Ma) interpreted to represent cooling ages of this part of the craton. Rutile thermometry of the same detrital grains indicates former granulite-facies conditions. The methods outlined in this paper should find wide application in studies that require age information of single spots, e. g., provenance studies, single-crystal zoning and texturally controlled dating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-530
Number of pages16
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


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