Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 110, Issue 6, pp 787–807 | Cite as

Interpretation of U-Th-Pb in-situ ages of hydrothermal monazite-(Ce) and xenotime-(Y): evidence from a large-scale regional study in clefts from the western alps

  • A. Grand’Homme
  • E. JanotsEmail author
  • V. Bosse
  • A. M. Seydoux-Guillaume
  • R. De Ascenção Guedes
Original Paper


In eleven Alpine clefts of the western Alps, in-situ dating of monazite-(Ce) and xenotime-(Y) has been attempted to gain insights on possible disturbances of the geochronological U-Th-Pb systems and age interpretations in hydrothermal conditions. In most clefts, monazite-(Ce) in-situ 208Pb/232Th dating using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) yields well-resolved ages (with errors typically <0.3 Ma, quoted at the 2σ level), indicative of a short duration monazite-(Ce) growth. However, monazite-(Ce) dating demonstrates two successive episodes of growth separated by several million years within two single clefts. Only in one cleft, complex age mixture in a porous and complex zoned monazite-(Ce) suggests disturbance of the 208Pb/232Th ages due to replacement by dissolution-precipitation processes. While some U-Pb ages are coherent with the 208Pb/232Th ages, U-Pb ages are generally disturbed by significant 206Pb excess in monazite-(Ce) with high Th/U ratio (>100). Xenotime-(Y) has remarkably high Th/U ratios and U-Pb dating is also disturbed by 206Pb excess, whereas 208Pb/232Th dating gave well-resolved ages (34.9 ± 0.5 Ma), close to but higher than the monazite-(Ce) age obtained in the same cleft (32.3 ± 0.3 Ma). Correlation of the monazite-(Ce) U-Th-Pb age dataset with other geochronological data suggests for monazite-(Ce) precipitation at periods of high tectonic activity. In the external massifs, monazite-(Ce) dating confirms a polyphased transpressive regime with activity periods around 13–11 Ma and 8–6 Ma. Older monazite-(Ce) ages in the Argentera massif (20.6 ± 0.3 Ma) are consistent with the regional diachronism in the western external Alps. In the 2 clefts of the internal massifs, monazite-(Ce) dating provides first ages of hydrothermal activity: the monazite-(Ce) age at 32.3 ± 0.3 Ma coincides with the exhumation along the Penninic front, but the monazite-(Ce) age at 23.3 ± 0.2 Ma is complex to attribute to a specific deformation stage.


Monazite Alps Hydrothermal activity U-Th-Pb dating Xenotime LA-ICPMS Tectonic exhumation 



This work was funded by the ANR-12-JS06-0001-01 (MONA) project and a grant from LabEx OSUG@2020 (Investissements d’avenir – ANR10 LABX56; France). We thank J. Valverde and F. Guichon for providing monazite crystals and their locations, E. Gnos and A.-M. Boullier for fruitful discussions in the field, N. Findling for his assistance with SEM, and finally T. Witcher who corrected the last version of the manuscript. L. Nasdala (editor), B. Schulz and an anonymous reviewer provided careful and constructive comments on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (XLS 88 kb)
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710_2016_451_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (187 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Grand’Homme
    • 1
  • E. Janots
    • 1
    Email author
  • V. Bosse
    • 2
  • A. M. Seydoux-Guillaume
    • 3
  • R. De Ascenção Guedes
    • 4
  1. 1.Insitut des Sciences de la TerreUniversité Grenoble AlpesGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Magmas et VolcansUniversité Blaise Pascal CNRS-IRD, OPGCClermont FerrandFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire Magmas et VolcansUMR 6524 CNRS-UBP-UJM-IRDSaint EtienneFrance
  4. 4.Editions du PiatSaint-Julien-du-PinetFrance

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