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Methods in high-precision geochronology


U-Pb isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) geochronology is often coined the "gold-standard" in geochronology. This is because 1) the decay constants of U are better known than any other long-lived parent nuclide, 2) the dual decay of 238U and 235U allow the evaluation of closed-system behavior, 3) because the standard, or tracer, against which ages are calculated can be calibrated with high precision and accuracy, and 4) because the mass spectrometry can be carried out with a high degree of precision and accuracy. Despite these benefits, there are significant improvements being made to both the U-Pb ID-TIMS method and its intercalibration with other dating methods. Much of my own work in this regard has been carried out as part of the NSF-funded EARTHTIME network, whose goals are (in part) to forge a community based initiattive arriving at intercalibration between different dating methods at the 0.1% level or better. Details of this initiative can be found here: www.earth-time.org

Areas of research:

1) improved accuracy and precision of the U decay constants

2) calibration and distribution of community tracers and standards for U-Pb dating

3) wider appreciation of uncertainty analysis and open-source universal data reduction platforms

4) intercalibration of the U-Pb dating method with Ar-Ar and cyclostratigraphic dating techniques


Related publications:

Schoene B, Condon D.C., Morgan L, McLean N.M., 2013, Precision and accuracy in geochronology,Elements v. 9 n. 1, p. 19-24 pdf

Schoene B, Schaltegger U, Brack P, Latkoczy C, Stracke A, Günther D, 2012, Rates of magma differentiation and emplacemenet in a ballooning pluton recorded by U-Pb TIMS-TEA, Adamello batholith, Italy.  Earth Planet. Sci. Letters 355-356; p 162-173; pdf

Schoene B, Latkoczy C, Schaltegger U, Günther D., 2010, A new method integrating high-precision U-Pb geochronology with zircon trace element analysis (U-Pb TIMS-TEA), Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 74; p. 7144-7159, DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2010.09.016  pdf

Bachmann O., Schoene B., Schnyder C., Spikings R., 2010, 40Ar/39Ar and U/Pb dating of young rhyolites in the Kos-Nosyros volcanic complex, Eastern Aegean Arc (Greece): age discordance from excess 40Ar in biotite, Geochem., Geophys., Geosyst., doi:10.1029/2010GC003073 pdf

Slama J., Kosler J., Condon D.J., Crowley J.L., Gerdes A., Hanchar J.M., Horstwood M.S.A., Morris G.A., Nasdala L., Norberg N., Schaltegger U., Schoene B., Tubrett M.N., Whitehouse M.J., 2008, Plesovice zircon – a new natural reference material for U-Pb and Hf isotopic microanalysis, Chemical Geology 249, pp. 1-35, doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2007.11.005 pdf

Crowley J.L., Schoene B., Bowring S.A., 2007, U-Pb dating of zircon in the Bishop Tuff at the millennial scale, Geology 35, pp. 1123-1126, doi: 10.1130/G24017A.1. pdf

Schmitz M.D., Schoene B., 2007, Derivation of isotope ratios, errors and error correlations for U-Pb geochronology using 205Pb-235U-(233U)-spike isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometric data, Geochem., Geophys., Geosyst. 8, Q08006, doi: 10.1029/2006GC001492 pdf

Schoene B., Bowring S.A., 2007, Determining accurate temperature-time paths from U-Pb thermochronology: an example from the SE Kaapvaal Craton, Southern Africa, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71: 165-185. pdf

Schoene B., Bowring S.A., 2006, A U-Pb age for the 40Ar/39Ar standard MMhb: implications for accurate comparative geochronology and U-Pb thermochronology. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 151 (5): 315-330 pdf

Schoene B., Crowley J.L., Condon D.C., Schmitz M.D., Bowring S.A., 2006, Reassessing the uranium decay constants for geochronology using ID-TIMS U-Pb data. Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta 70: 426-445 pdf