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Fission track analysis of sphene - an evaluation of its potential for determining the geological age and thermal history of rocks


Fission tracks are submicroscopic scars in uranium-bearing crystals, caused by fission of uranium nuclei. Measurements of the density and length of fission tracks in sphene can, in principle, provide an entirely self-contained method for determining (1) their geological age, and (2) their thermotectonic history. Some specific problems remain to be resolved however.
Absolute fission track dating of sphene is, at present, affected by experimental factors that render the results uncertain. We aim to study these sources of inaccuracies and to propose measures to eliminate them. Thermal history analysis based on track length measurements in sphene remains unexplored to date. We aim to determine, through laboratory annealing experiments, (1) the reduction of track density and track length under precisely controlled conditions, and (2) the exact relationship between track length and track density. Together, these provide the necessary framework for developing thermal history analysis based on track length measurements in sphene.

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Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenchaften
69029 Heidelberg

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