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The influence of artificial radiation damage and thermal annealing on helium diffusion kinetics in apatite

Shuster, David L. and Farley, Kenneth A. (2009) The influence of artificial radiation damage and thermal annealing on helium diffusion kinetics in apatite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73 (1). pp. 183-196. ISSN 0016-7037.

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Recent work [Shuster D. L., Flowers R. M. and Farley K. A. (2006) The influence of natural radiation damage on helium diffusion kinetics in apatite. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 249(3–4), 148–161] revealing a correlation between radiogenic 4He concentration and He diffusivity in natural apatites suggests that helium migration is retarded by radiation-induced damage to the crystal structure. If so, the He diffusion kinetics of an apatite is an evolving function of time and the effective uranium concentration in a cooling sample, a fact which must be considered when interpreting apatite (U–Th)/He ages. Here we report the results of experiments designed to investigate and quantify this phenomenon by determining He diffusivities in apatites after systematically adding or removing radiation damage. Radiation damage was added to a suite of synthetic and natural apatites by exposure to between 1 and 100 h of neutron irradiation in a nuclear reactor. The samples were then irradiated with a 220 MeV proton beam and the resulting spallogenic 3He used as a diffusant in step-heating diffusion experiments. In every sample, irradiation increased the activation energy (Ea) and the frequency factor (Do/a^2) of diffusion and yielded a higher He closure temperature (Tc) than the starting material. For example, 100 h in the reactor caused the He closure temperature to increase by as much as 36 °C. For a given neutron fluence the magnitude of increase in closure temperature scales negatively with the initial closure temperature. This is consistent with a logarithmic response in which the neutron damage is additive to the initial damage present. In detail, the irradiations introduce correlated increases in Ea and ln(Do/a^2) that lie on the same array as found in natural apatites. This strongly suggests that neutron-induced damage mimics the damage produced by U and Th decay in natural apatites. To investigate the potential consequences of annealing of radiation damage, samples of Durango apatite were heated in vacuum to temperatures up to 550 °C for between 1 and 350 h. After this treatment the samples were step-heated using the remaining natural 4He as the diffusant. At temperatures above 290 °C a systematic change in Tc was observed, with values becoming lower with increasing temperature and time. For example, reduction of Tc from the starting value of 71 to ~52 °C occurred in 1 h at 375 °C or 10 h at 330 °C. The observed variations in Tc are strongly correlated with the fission track length reduction predicted from the initial holding time and temperature. Furthermore, like the neutron irradiated apatites, these samples plot on the same Ea − ln(Do/a2) array as natural samples, suggesting that damage annealing is simply undoing the consequences of damage accumulation in terms of He diffusivity. Taken together these data provide unequivocal evidence that at these levels, radiation damage acts to retard He diffusion in apatite, and that thermal annealing reverses the process. The data provide support for the previously described radiation damage trapping kinetic model of Shuster et al. (2006) and can be used to define a model which fully accommodates damage production and annealing.

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Farley, Kenneth A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Additional Information:Copyright © 2008 Elsevier. Received 15 July 2008; accepted 10 October 2008. Associate editor: Rainer Wieler. Available online 21 October 2008. We thank D. Cherniak for providing the synthetic apatite sample, R. Ketcham for guidance on fission track annealing, R. Ewing and R. Fleming for helpful discussion about kerma, S. Reese for access to the neutron energy spectrum and the Φeq, 1MeV, Si calibration for the CLICIT, T. Becker for help with neutron irradiations, and P. Reiners and two anonymous referees for helpful reviews. This work was supported by NSF Grants EAR-0738474 to DLS and EAR-0738627 to KAF and the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Supplementary data associated with this article can be found, in the online version, at doi:10.1016/j.gca.2008.10.013.
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National Science FoundationEAR-0738474
National Science FoundationEAR-0738627
Ann and Gordon Getty FoundationUNSPECIFIED
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Deposited On:16 Jan 2009 21:48
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 13:01

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