Publication Details

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Title: High sensitivity mapping of Ti distributions in Hadean zircons
Authors: T.M. Harrison, and A.K. Schmitt
Publication: Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v. 261, p. 9‐19.
Publish Date: Sep 2007
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.05.016
PDF: pdf
BibTEX Citation: Harrison2:2007.bib


Detrital zircons as old as nearly 4.4 Ga from the Jack Hills, Western Australia, offer possible insights into a phase of Earth history for which there exists no known rock record. Ti concentrations of Hadean zircons indicate a spectrum of crystallization temperatures that range from a cluster at ca. 680 °C to apparent values exceeding 1200 °C. The low temperature peak has been interpreted to indicate the existence of ’wet’ melting conditions during the Hadean, but alternate views have been advanced. We have developed methods for quantitative ion imaging of titanium in zircons using positive and negative secondary ions, produced respectively under bombardment of O and Cs+, that permit detailed insights regarding Ti concentration distributions. Each approach has particular advantages that tradeoff in terms of sensitivity, ultimate lateral resolution, and reproducibility. Coupled with high resolution spot analyses, these ion images show that Ti contents greater than about 20 ppm in the Jack Hills zircons are associated with cracks or other crystal imperfections and that virtually all of the high apparent temperatures (i.e., > 800 °C) yet obtained are suspect for contamination by Ti extraneous to the zircon. Removing these from consideration strengthens the previous conclusion that the Hadean Jack Hills population is dominated by zircons crystallized at 680−720 °C.