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Apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronometry using a radiation damage accumulation and annealing model

Flowers, Rebecca M. and Ketcham, Richard A. and Shuster, David L. and Farley, Kenneth A. (2009) Apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronometry using a radiation damage accumulation and annealing model. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73 (8). pp. 2347-2365. ISSN 0016-7037.

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Helium diffusion from apatite is a sensitive function of the volume fraction of radiation damage to the crystal, a quantity that varies over the lifetime of the apatite. Using recently published laboratory data we develop and investigate a new kinetic model, the radiation damage accumulation and annealing model (RDAAM), that adopts the effective fission-track density as a proxy for accumulated radiation damage. This proxy incorporates creation of crystal damage proportional to α-production from U and Th decay, and the elimination of that damage governed by the kinetics of fission-track annealing. The RDAAM is a version of the helium trapping model (HeTM; 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, 148–161), calibrated by helium diffusion data in natural and partially annealed apatites. The chief limitation of the HeTM, now addressed by RDAAM, is its use of He concentration as the radiation damage proxy for circumstances in which radiation damage and He are not accumulated and lost proportionately from the crystal. By incorporating the RDAAM into the HeFTy computer program, we explore its implications for apatite (U–Th)/He thermochronometry. We show how (U–Th)/He dates predicted from the model are sensitive to both effective U concentration (eU) and details of the temperature history. The RDAAM predicts an effective He closure temperature of 62°C for a 28 ppm eU apatite of 60 μm radius that experienced a 10°C/Ma monotonic cooling rate; this is 8°C lower than the 70°C effective closure temperature predicted using commonly assumed Durango diffusion kinetics. Use of the RDAAM is most important for accurate interpretation of (U–Th)/He data for apatite suites that experienced moderate to slow monotonic cooling (1–0.1 °C/Ma), prolonged residence in the helium partial retention zone, or a duration at temperatures appropriate for radiation damage accumulation followed by reheating and partial helium loss. Under common circumstances the RDAAM predicts (U–Th)/He dates that are older, sometimes much older, than corresponding fission-track dates. Nonlinear positive correlations between apatite (U–Th)/He date and eU in apatites subjected to the same temperature history are a diagnostic signature of the RDAAM for many but not all thermal histories. Observed date-eU correlations in four different localities can be explained with the RDAAM using geologically reasonable thermal histories consistent with independent fission-track datasets. The existence of date-eU correlations not only supports a radiation damage based kinetic model, but can significantly limit the range of acceptable time-temperature paths that account for the data. In contrast, these datasets are inexplicable using the Durango diffusion model. The RDAAM helps reconcile enigmatic data in which apatite (U–Th)/He dates are older than expected using the Durango model when compared with thermal histories based on apatite fission-track data or other geological constraints. It also has the potential to explain at least some cases in which (U–Th)/He dates are actually older than the corresponding fission-track dates.

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Farley, Kenneth A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Additional Information:© 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Received 13 October 2008; accepted 21 January 2009. Associate editor: Rainer Wieler. Available online 28 January 2009. This work was supported by National Science Foundation Grants EAR-0738627 to K.A.F., EAR-0738474 to D.L.S., and EAR-0711451 to R.M.F. D.L.S. acknowledges support from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. We thank Ray Donelick for supplying many of the apatite fission-track density measurements that are used in the model calibration. We appreciate helpful reviews by Pete Reiners and an anonymous reviewer.
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Ann and Gordon Getty FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090609-164429781
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14382
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:13 Aug 2009 20:52
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 13:01

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