A Geochemical and Isotopic Investigation of Micrometre-Thin Rims of Zircon from the North Caribou Superterrane, Western Superior Province, Canada

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Title: A Geochemical and Isotopic Investigation of Micrometre-Thin Rims of Zircon from the North Caribou Superterrane, Western Superior Province, Canada
Authors: Kelly, Colter Joseph
Date: 2017
Abstract: Micrometer-thin rims of hydrothermally altered zircon preserve significant geological information regarding the timing and nature of fluid infiltration. The research presented in this thesis details an investigation of the isotopic and geochemical composition zircon rims from deformed Archean meta-sedimentary rocks proximal to the world class Musselwhite gold deposit. A continuous ablation Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) U-Pb technique is proposed in conjunction with Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) U-Pb and LA-ICP-MS REE depth profile methods. These techniques are capable of identifying and analyzing isotopic and chemical modification of zircon rims that are <5 μm thick by ablating directly into the surface of unpolished crystals. The age of analyzed rims is >100 m.y younger than crystal interiors and corresponds to periods of regional magmatism and hydrothermal activity. The measured thickness of rims is variable across single grains and between grain suites suggesting that they do not form as a uniform mantle around the crystal interior. Instead the interacting fluids exploit pre-existing structural weaknesses caused by sedimentary transport and the α-decay of uranium. A novel LA-ICP-MS single element grain 2-dimension mapping technique for unpolished zircon demonstrates preferential element mobility along fractures and in isolated patches. Pressure-temperature experiments were conducted on a zircon reference material under lower greenschist facies conditions to better understand the low temperature incorporation of REEs into the zircon structure. LA-ICP-MS element mapping of unpolished grains reveals that zircon are chemically modified under these conditions, as characterized by an increase in Ce and Y concentration (up to an order of magnitude enrichment) in CePO4-bearing and YPO4-bearing experiments, respectively, when compared with the concentrations of unaltered primary grains. The integration of these micro-analytical techniques on unpolished zircon can provide insight into the timing of low- to moderate-temperature history of supracrustal rocks which would remain otherwise undefined.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35962
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-20243
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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