Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
Research article
07 Feb 2023
Research article |  | 07 Feb 2023

Calculation of uncertainty in the (U–Th) ∕ He system

Peter E. Martin, James R. Metcalf, and Rebecca M. Flowers

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Cited articles

Anderson, G. M.: Error propagation by the Monte Carlo method in geochemical calculations, Geochim. Cosmochim. Ac., 40, 1533–1538,, 1976. 
Azzalini, A.: A Class of Distributions Which Includes the Normal Ones, Scand. J. Stat., 12, 171–178, 1985. 
Azzalini, A. and Capitanio, A.: Statistical applications of the multivariate skew normal distribution, J. Roy. Stat. Soc. Ser. B, 61, 579–602,, 1999. 
Bevington, P. and Robinson, D. K.: Data Reduction and Error Analysis for the Physical Sciences, 3rd Edn., McGraw-Hill Education, 344 pp., ISBN 13: 9780071199261, 2003. 
Brown, R. W., Beucher, R., Roper, S., Persano, C., Stuart, F., and Fitzgerald, P.: Natural age dispersion arising from the analysis of broken crystals, Part I: Theoretical basis and implications for the apatite (U–Th) / He thermochronometer, Geochim. Cosmochim. Ac., 122, 478–497,, 2013. 
Short summary
There is currently no standardized method of performing uncertainty propagation in the (U–Th) / He system, causing data interpretation difficulties. We present two methods of uncertainty propagation and describe free, open-source software (HeCalc) to apply them. Compilation of real data using only analytical uncertainty as well as 2 % and 5 % uncertainties in FT yields respective median relative date uncertainties of 2.9 %, 3.3 %, and 5.0 % for apatites and 1.7 %, 3.3 %, and 5.0 % for zircons.