Advertisement

Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 94, Issue 4, pp 405–415 | Cite as

Confined fission track lengths in apatite: a diagnostic tool for thermal history analysis

  • A. J. W. Gleadow
  • I. R. Duddy
  • P. F. Green
  • J. F. Lovering
Article

Abstract

Fission-track ages in apatite are generally accepted as giving a measure of the time over which a sample has been exposed to temperatures below approximately 100° C. A compilation of the lengths of confined fission tracks in a wide variety of apatites from different geological environments has shown that the distribution of confined track lengths can provide unique thermal history information in the temperature range below about 150° C over times of the order of 106 to 109 years. The distribution of confined lengths of freshly produced induced tracks is characterised by a narrow, symmetrical distribution with a mean length of around 16.3 μm and a standard deviation of the distribution of approximately 0.9 μm. In volcanic and related rocks which have cooled very rapidly, and never been reheated above about 50° C, the distribution is also narrow and symmetric, but with a shorter mean of 14.5 to 15 μm, and a standard deviation of the distribution of approximately 1.0 μm. In granitic basement terrains which are thought never to have been significantly disturbed thermally, since their original post-emplacement cooling, the distribution becomes negatively skewed, with a mean around 12 or 13 μm and a standard deviation between 1.2 and 2 μm.This distribution is thought to characterise slow continuous cooling from temperatures in excess of 120° C, to ambient surface temperatures. More complex thermal histories produce correspondingly complex distributions of confined tracks. The continuous production of tracks through time, coupled with the fact that the length of each track shrinks to a value characteristic of the maximum temperature it has experienced, gives a final length distribution which directly reflects the nature of the variation of temperature with time. Most distinctive of the myriad possible forms of the final distribution are the bimodal distributions, which give clear evidence of a two-stage history, including high and low temperature phases. The study of confined length distributions therefore offers invaluable evidence on the meaning of any fission-track age, and bears the potential of providing rigorous constraints on thermal history in the temperature regime below about 150° C. The results of this study strongly suggest that any apatite fission-track age determination should be supported by a confined track length distribution.

Keywords

Apatite Thermal History Length Distribution Continuous Cool Track Length 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Beeston JW (1981) Coal rank in the Bowen Basin, Queensland. Geol Surv Record 1981/48Google Scholar
  2. Bhandari N, Bhat SC, Lal D, Rajagoplan G, Tamhane AS, Venkatavaradan VS (1971) Fission fragment tracks in apatite: Recordable track lengths. Earth Planet Sci Lett 13:191–199Google Scholar
  3. Bigazzi G (1967) Length of fission tracks and age of muscovite samples. Earth Planet Sci Lett 3:434–438Google Scholar
  4. Carpena J, Mailhe D, Poupeau G, Vincent D (1981) Model ages in fission track dating. Nucl Tracks 5:240–242Google Scholar
  5. Chaillou D, Chambaudet A (1981) Isothermal plateau method for apatite fission-track dating. Nucl Tracks 5:181–186Google Scholar
  6. Dakowski M (1978) Length distributions in thick crystals. Nucl Track Detect 2:181–189Google Scholar
  7. Ferguson KU (1982) Fission track dating of shield areas, Australia: relationship between tectonic and thermal histories and fission track age distributions, unpublished MSc. thesis, University of MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  8. Gleadow AJW (1978) Fission Track evidence for the thermal evolution of rifted continental margins. US Geol Surv Open File Report 78–701:146–148Google Scholar
  9. Gleadow AJW (1980) Fission track dating of the KBS Tuff and associated hominid remains in northern Kenya. Nature 284:225–230Google Scholar
  10. Gleadow AJW, Brooks CK (1979) Fission track dating, thermal histories and tectonics of igneous intrusions in east Greenland. Contrib Mineral Petrol 71:45–60Google Scholar
  11. Gleadow AJW, Duddy IR (1981a) A natural long term annealing experiment for apatite. Nucl Tracks 5:169–174Google Scholar
  12. Gleadow AJW, Duddy IR (1981b) Early Cretaceous volcanism and the early breakup history of southeastern Australia: Evidence from fission track dating of volcanogenic sediments. In: Gondwana V, Cresswell MM, Vella P (eds) AA Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 295–300Google Scholar
  13. Gleadow AJW, Duddy IR (1984) Fission track dating and thermal history analysis of apatites from wells in the northwestern Canning Basin. In: Purcell PG (ed) The Canning Basin. Geol Soc Aust Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia, Perth, pp 377–387Google Scholar
  14. Gleadow AJW, Lovering JF (1978a) Thermal history of granitic rocks of Western Victoria: A fission-track dating study. J Geol Soc Aust 25:323–340Google Scholar
  15. Gleadow AJW, Lovering JF (1978b) Fission track geochronology of King Island, Bass Strait, Australia: relationship to continental rifting. Earth Planet Sci Lett 37:429–437Google Scholar
  16. Gleadow AJW, Duddy IR, Lovering JF (1983) Fission track analysis: a new tool for the evaluation of thermal histories and hydrocarbon potential. Aust Petrol Explor Assoc J 23:9–102Google Scholar
  17. Gleadow AJW, Duddy IR, Green PF, Hegarty KA (1986) Fission track lengths in the apatite annealing zone and the interpretation of mixed ages. Earth Planet Sci Lett 78:245–254Google Scholar
  18. Green PF (1980) On the cause of shortening of spontaneous fission tracks in certain minerals. Nucl Tracks 4:91–100Google Scholar
  19. Green PF (1985) A comparison of zeta calibration baselines for apatite zircon and sphene. Chem Geol (Isot Geosci Sect) 58:1–22Google Scholar
  20. Green PF (1986) On the thermo-tectonic evolution of Northern England evidence from fission-track analysis. Geol Mag (in press)Google Scholar
  21. Green PF, Durrani SA (1977) Annealing studies of tracks in crystals. Nucl Track Detect 1:33–39Google Scholar
  22. Green PF, Duddy IR, Gleadow AJW, Laslett GM (1986) Thermal annealing of fission tracks in apatite: 1 — A qualitative description. Chem Geol (Isot Geosci Sect in press)Google Scholar
  23. Green PF, Duddy IR, Gleadow AJW, Lovering JF (1985) Apatite fission track analysis as a paleotemperature indicator for hydrocarbon exploration. In: ND Naeser (ed) Soc Econ Petrol Mineral Spec Publ (in press)Google Scholar
  24. Haack U (1982) The closing temperature for fission track retention in minerals. Am J Sci 277:459–464Google Scholar
  25. Hegarty K (1985) Origin and evolution of selected plate boundaries. PhD thesis, Columbia UniversityGoogle Scholar
  26. Hurford AJ (1986) Cooling and uplift patterns in the Lepontine Alps, south central Switzerland and an age of vertical movement on the Insubric fault line. Contrib Mineral Petrol 92:413–427Google Scholar
  27. Lal D, Rajan RS, Tamhane AS (1969) Chemical composition of nuclei of Z>22 in cosmic rays using meteoritic minerals as detectors. Nature 221:33–37Google Scholar
  28. Laslett GM, Gleadow AJW, Duddy IR (1984) The relationship between fission track length and density in apatite. Nucl Tracks 9:29–38Google Scholar
  29. Laslett GM, Kendall WS, Gleadow AJW, Duddy IR (1982) Bias in measurement of fission-track length distributions. Nucl Tracks 6:79–85Google Scholar
  30. Mehta PP, Rama (1969) Annealing effects in muscovite and their influence on dating by the fission-track method. Earth Planet Sci Lett 7:82–86Google Scholar
  31. Moore ME, Gleadow AJW, Lovering JF (1986) Thermal evolution of rifted continental margins: new evidence from fission tracks in basement apatites from southeastern Australia. Earth Planet Sci Lett 78:255–270Google Scholar
  32. Naeser CW (1979) Thermal history of sedimentary basins by fission track dating of sub-surface rocks. In: Scholle PA, Schluger PR (eds) Aspects of diagenesis. Soc Econ Paleo Mineral Spec Pub No. 26:109–112Google Scholar
  33. Naeser CW, Faul H (1969) Fission track annealing in spatite and sphene. J Geophys Res 74:705–710Google Scholar
  34. Naeser CW, Fleischer RL (1975) Age of the apatite at Cerro de Mercado, Mexico: a problem for fission track annealing corrections. Geophys Res Lett 2:67–70Google Scholar
  35. Naeser CW, Zimmerman RA, Cebula GT (1981) Fission-track dating of apatite and zircon: an interlaboratory comparison. Nucl Tracks 5:65–72Google Scholar
  36. Nagpaul KN, Mehta PP, Gupta ML (1974) Annealing studies on radiation damages in boitite, apatite and sphene, and corrections to fission track ages. Pure Appl Geophys 112:131–139Google Scholar
  37. Storzer D, Poupeau G (1973) Ages plateaux de mineraux et verres par la methode des traces de fission. C R Acad Sci Paris 276:137–139Google Scholar
  38. Storzer D, Selo M (1981) Traces de fission dans les apatites detritique: applications a la reconstruction de l'histoire thermique d'un basin sedimentaire. C R Acad Paris 293:979–984Google Scholar
  39. Wagner GA (1968) Fission track dating of apatites. Earth Planet Sci Lett 4:411–415Google Scholar
  40. Wagner GA (1981) Fission track ages and their geological significance. Nucl Tracks 5:15–26Google Scholar
  41. Wagner GA, Reimer GM (1972) Fission track tectonics: the tectonic interpretation of fission track ages. Earth Planet Sci Lett 14:263–268Google Scholar
  42. Wagner GA, Storzer D (1970) Die Interpretation von Spaltspurenaltern am Beispiel von natürlichen Gläsern, Apatiten und Zirkonen. Eclog Geol Helv 63:335–344Google Scholar
  43. Wagner GA, Storzer D (1972) Fission track length reductions in minerals and the thermal history of rocks. Trans Am Nucl Soc 15:127–128Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. W. Gleadow
    • 1
  • I. R. Duddy
    • 1
  • P. F. Green
    • 1
  • J. F. Lovering
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

Personalised recommendations