Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 952–963 | Cite as

Electron Probe Microanalysis of Monazite and Its Applications to U-Th-Pb Dating of Geological Samples

  • Wenbin Ning
  • Junpeng WangEmail author
  • Deng Xiao
  • Fenfang Li
  • Bo Huang
  • Dong Fu
Petrology, Mineralogy and Geochemistry


Electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) dating of monazite has been developed over decades. However, limited by the detectability and analytical sensitivity of dating-related elements (Th, Pb, U and Y), the EPMA dating has been restricted to geological research. In this study, various probe currents, beam diameters and counting times have been utilized on a JEOL JXA-8230 electron microprobe to determine the optimal experimental conditions for measuring Th, Pb, U and Y in monazite. The optimal conditions are: (1) accelerating voltage is 15 kV; (2) probe current is 100 nA; (3) beam diameter is 1 μm; (4) the peak and background counting time of U and Pb are 200 and 100 s; and (5) the peak and background counting time of Th and Y are 100 and 50 s. We apply this method to monazite from garnet-bearing biotite gneiss in the Zanhuang area of the Central Orogenic Belt of the North China Craton. The PbO-ThO2* isochron age calculated by EPMA data is 1 812±17 Ma (MSWD=2.06), which is similar to the weighted mean 207Pb/206Pb age (1 805±12 Ma, MSWD=1.07) obtained by LA-ICP-MS. This study suggests that EPMA dating of monazite as a powerful dating technique can be widely used in geochronological study.

Key words

monazite EPMA dating garnet-bearing biotite gneiss Zanhuang area North China Craton geochemistry 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41602234), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China (Nos. CUGL180406, CUGCJ1707), and Open Fund (No. GRMR201901) from the State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan. We are grateful to Daniel Harlov, Timothy Kusky and Wang Lu for providing valuable suggestions and revising this paper. We also appreciate the editor and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments, which helped to improve this manuscript significantly. The final publication is available at Springer via

Supplementary material

12583_2019_1020_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
Table S1. LA-ICP-MS monazite U-Pb data for garnet-bearing biotite gneiss in the Zanhuang massif, North China Craton.

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Copyright information

© China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, Part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, Hubei Key Laboratory of Critical Zone Evolution, Center for Global Tectonics, School of Earth SciencesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina

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