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TitaniQ: a titanium-in-quartz geothermometer


Titanium is one of many trace elements to substitute for silicon in the mineral quartz. Here, we describe the temperature dependence of that substitution, in the form of a new geothermometer. To calibrate the “TitaniQ” thermometer, we synthesized quartz in the presence of rutile and either aqueous fluid or hydrous silicate melt, at temperatures ranging from 600 to 1,000°C, at 1.0 GPa. The Ti contents of quartz (in ppm by weight) from 13 experiments increase exponentially with reciprocal T as described by:

$$ {\text{Log}}{\left( {X^{{{\text{qtz}}}}_{{{\text{Ti}}}} } \right)} = (5.69 \pm 0.02) - \frac{{(3765 \pm 24)}} {{T(K)}}. $$

Application of this thermometer is straightforward, typically requiring analysis of only one phase (quartz). This can be accomplished either by EPMA for crystallization temperatures above 600°C, or by SIMS for temperatures down to at least 400°. Resulting temperature estimates are very precise (usually better than ±5°C), potentially allowing detailed characterization of thermal histories within individual quartz grains. Although calibrated for quartz crystallized in the presence of rutile, the thermometer can also be applied to rutile-absent systems if TiO2 activity is constrained.

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We are grateful to several persons for assistance at various stages of this project. Frank Spear is thanked for insightful discussions of Ti behavior in metamorphic rocks, for addressing the issue of Ti activity in rutile-undersaturated magmas, and for providing natural samples for analysis. Jay Thomas, Joe Pyle, and Leslie Hayden each participated in trips to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute for ion microprobe sessions. There, Graham Layne and Nobu Shimuzu each provided valuable assistance. For samples—only some of which are mentioned in this paper—we acknowledge Jay Ague, Fred Anderson, Eric Christiansen, John Farver, Wes Hildreth, Marian Lupulesku, and Mark Reed. Mark Schmitz and an anonymous reviewer provided useful comments. This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, awards EAR−0409622 and EAR-440228.

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Correspondence to David A. Wark.

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Communicated by T.L. Grove.

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Wark, D.A., Watson, E.B. TitaniQ: a titanium-in-quartz geothermometer. Contrib Mineral Petrol 152, 743–754 (2006).

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  • TiO2
  • Rutile
  • Ilmenite
  • Quartz Phenocryst
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute