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Our LA-SC-ICPMS has the capability of providing cost-effective in situ geochronological and mineral isotope tracer data, but the analytical techniques need to be developed further to reach their full potential.

Our facility and research scientists are well-positioned to open exciting new frontiers related to in situ geochronology and mineral isotope tracer research, and these new avenues of research will be fully available to the USGS research.

Now since all rocks are somewhat porous, and since we are pretty much obliged to date rocks from near the surface, it's hard to find instances in which uranium has not been lost.

; as you can see from its chemical formula, it is one of the silicate minerals.

Prior to 1905 the best and most accepted age of the Earth was that proposed by Lord Kelvin based on the amount of time necessary for the Earth to cool to its present temperature from a completely liquid state.

Although we now recognize lots of problems with that calculation, the age of 25 my was accepted by most physicists, but considered too short by most geologists. Recognition that radioactive decay of atoms occurs in the Earth was important in two respects: Principles of Radiometric Dating Radioactive decay is described in terms of the probability that a constituent particle of the nucleus of an atom will escape through the potential (Energy) barrier which bonds them to the nucleus.

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The other problem is that uranium is particularly susceptible to weathering.A new double-focusing single-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (SC-ICPMS) at USGS has the ability to perform rapid in situ isotopic analyses of geological materials by laser ablation (LA). This laser ablation single-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (LA-SC-ICPMS) is ideally suited for geochronological and isotopic tracer studies related to the timing, duration, and rates of mineralization and the sources of ore-forming fluids. The primary goal of this project is to improve the precision and accuracy of routine uranium-lead dating of zircon, expanding our LA-SC-ICPMS dating technique to other uranium-rich minerals (e.g., monazite, apatite, xenotime), and developing novel LA-ICPMS in situ lead and strontium isotopic tracer methods applicable to studies of ore mineralization and the framework geology of Mineral Resources Program research study areas. The development of the most precise geochronologic and novel isotope tracer methods would open new avenues for minerals-related research including, for example, geochronology of monazite, apatite, and titanite and lead-isotope studies of ore-related feldspar. Throughout the world, there is a sudden extinction of a large number of taxa, including the dinosaurs, at the geological boundary known as the K-T (Cretaceous – Tertiary) boundary.


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