Determining cooling rates from mica 40Ar/39Ar thermochronology data: effect of cooling path shape

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Clare Warren, Christopher McDonald, Felix Hanke, Julian Chard


Tectonic models are commonly underpinned by metamorphic cooling rates derived from diffusive-loss thermochronology data. Such cooling ages are usually linked to temperature via Dodson’s 1973 closure temperature (TC) formulation, which specifies a 1/time-shaped cooling path. Geologists, however, commonly discuss cooling rates as a linear temperature/time shape. We present the results of a series of simple finite-difference diffusion models for Ar diffusion in muscovite and biotite that show that the difference in recorded age between 1/t and linear cooling paths increases significantly with hotter starting temperatures, slower cooling rates and smaller grain sizes. Our results show that it is essential to constrain the cooling path shape in order to make meaningful interpretations of the measured data.



Earth Sciences, Geochemistry, Geology, Other Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


thermochronology, 40Ar/39Ar, Biotite, Closure Temperature, Diffusion Modelling, Muscovite


Published: 2019-04-02 06:11

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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