25 Oct 2021

25 Oct 2021

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

Short communication: Modelling competing effects of cooling rate, grain size and radiation damage in low temperature thermochronometers

David Whipp1,, Dawn Kellett2,, and Isabelle Coutand3 David Whipp et al.
  • 1Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Geological Survey of Canada - Atlantic, Natural Resources Canada, Dartmouth, B2Y 4A2, Canada
  • 3Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, B3H 4R2, Canada
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Low temperature multi-thermochronometry, in which the (U-Th)/He and fission track methods are applied to minerals such as zircon and apatite, is a valuable approach for documenting rock cooling histories and relating them to geological processes. Here we explore the behaviours of two of the most commonly applied low temperature thermochronometers, (U-Th)/He in zircon (ZHe) and apatite (AHe), and directly compare against the apatite fission track (AFT) thermochronometer for different forward-modelled cooling scenarios. We consider the impacts that common variations in effective spherical radius (ESR) and effective Uranium concentration (eU) may have on cooling ages and closure temperatures under a range of different cooling rates. This exercise highlights different scenarios under which typical age relationships between these thermochronometers (ZHe > AFT > AHe) are expected to collapse, or partially to fully invert. We anticipate that these predictions and the associated software we provide will be a useful tool for teaching, planning low temperature multi-thermochronometry studies, and for continued exploration of the relative behaviours of these thermochronometers in the temperature-time space through forward models.

David Whipp et al.

Status: open (until 10 Dec 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on gchron-2021-29', William Guenthner, 23 Nov 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on gchron-2021-29', Christoph Glotzbach, 23 Nov 2021 reply

David Whipp et al.

Model code and software

Software for plotting results from "Competing effects of cooling rate, grain size, and radiation damage in low-temperature thermochronometers" David Whipp

David Whipp et al.


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Short summary
Multi-thermochronometry, in which methods such as (U-Th)/He dating of zircon and apatite, and apatite fission-track dating are combined, is used to reconstruct rock thermal histories. Our ability to reconstruct thermal histories and interpret the geological significance of measured ages requires modeling. Here we use forward models to explore grain size and chemistry effects on cooling ages and closure temperatures for the (U-Th)/He decay systems in apatite and zircon.