Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gchron-2021-28
https://doi.org/10.5194/gchron-2021-28

  29 Sep 2021

29 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GChron.

Short communication concerning experimental factors affecting fission-track counts in apatite

Carolin Aslanian, Raymond Jonckheere, Bastian Wauschkuhn, and Lothar Ratschbacher Carolin Aslanian et al.
  • Geologie, Technische Universität, Bergakademie Freiberg, 09599 Freiberg, Germany

Abstract. The tools for interpreting fission-track data are evolving apace but, even so, the outcomes cannot be better than the data. Recent studies that have again taken up the issues of etching and observation have shown that both have an effect on confined-track length measurements. We report experiments concerning the effects of grain orientation, polishing, etching and observation on fission-track counts in apatite. The results cannot be generalized to circumstances other than those of the experiments, and thus do not solve the problems of track counting. Our findings nevertheless throw light on the factors affecting the track counts, and thence the sample ages, whilst raising the question: what counts as an etched surface track? This is pertinent to manual and automatic track counts and to designing training strategies for neural networks. We cannot be confident that counting prism faces and using the ζ-calibration for age calculation are adequate for dealing with all etching- and counting-related factors across all samples. Prism faces are not unproblematic for counting and other surface orientations are not per se useless. Our results suggest that a reinvestigation of the etching properties of different apatite faces could increase the range useful for dating, and so lift a severe restriction for provenance studies.

Carolin Aslanian et al.

Status: open (until 10 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gchron-2021-28', Murat Taner Tamer, 02 Oct 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on gchron-2021-28', Hideki Iwano, 12 Oct 2021 reply

Carolin Aslanian et al.

Carolin Aslanian et al.

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Short summary
Fission tracks are damage trails from uranium fission in minerals, whose thermal histories are deduced from their number and length. A mineral is etched for observing the tracks with a microscope. We show that the etching and observation conditions affect the track count and explain it in the framework of a recent etch model. We conclude that established solutions do not secure that the ages and thermal histories inferred from track counts and measurements are accurate.