Interaction of weathering solutions with oxygen and U–Pb isotopic systems of radiation-damaged zircon from an Archean granite, Darling Range Batholith, Western Australia
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Zircons from Archean granites from the Darling Range Batholith in the Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia have been shown to have complexly discordant U–Pb systems with a strong component of zero age disturbance. The only geological event that has affected the granites in recent times is the pervasive regional weathering. Our aim in this study was to investigate the effects of weathering on the U–Pb and oxygen systems of the zircons, and to this end, we report secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) results of OH, oxygen and U–Pb isotope systems of six typical zircons from a sample of the granite. These results confirmed the presence of OH in highly radiation-damaged parts of the zircons, demonstrating fluid interaction within grains. The presence of OH was accompanied by significant changes in the 18O/16O ratios. The data suggest trends where d18O values in individual grains both increase and decrease with increasing OH. SIMS measurements showed the U–Pb systems are variably and unsystematically discordant in radiation-damaged parts of the zircons, particularly those with elevated OH contents. The complex U–Pb systems are interpreted in terms of multiple disturbance events between 450 and 0 Ma involving low-temperature fluid-induced movement of radiogenic Pb, decoupled from parent U and Th, within the radiation-damaged zircons, together with some Pb loss.
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