U-Pb age and origin of gem zircon from the New England sapphire fields, New South Wales, Australia

A. Abduriyim*, F. L. Sutherland, E. A. Belousova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Chemical compositions and geochronological data utilising the laser ablation ICP-MS technique are presented for zircon megacrysts found in alluvial gem corundum deposits associated with Upper Cretaceous-Cenozoic alkali basalts in the Inverell district-New England field, New South Wales, eastern Australia. Three localities, Kings Plains, Swan Brook and Mary Anne Gully, produce gem-quality transparent dark brown and yellow zircon megacrysts, mostly under 10 mm in size. Although brown zircon shows relative enrichment in Hf and REE, there are no differences in relative transition metal concentrations between the colours. Chemical homogeneity within a single crystal indicates stable crystallisation conditions. The 206Pb/ 238U age of zircon megacrysts from these three localities define older and younger groups of 216-174 Ma and 45-37.7 Ma, respectively. The ε{lunate} Hf values of zircon megacrysts from Kings Plains show +7.51±0.34 in the older group and +10.72±0.31 in the younger group. Swan Brook zircons give +11.54±0.47 and +8.32±0.58, and Mary Anne Gully zircons are +13.67±0.63 and +8.50±0.48, respectively. These zircons from New England alluvial gem deposits have two main formational events around Upper Triassic-Lower Jurassic and Eocene episodes. Most originated from lithospheric mantle and all were brought-up by later host basaltic magmas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1067-1081
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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