Zircon Trace Element Composition as a Provenance Indicator

Zircon is a mineral of major interest in provenance analysis because it is ultrastable against processes of the sedimentary cycle and chronometric methods enable to determine crystallisation ages (U-Pb) as well as cooling ages (Fission tracks, [U,Th]/He). The majority of detrital zircon is sourced from felsic igneous rocks, but zircon also occurs in metamorphic, metasomatic, and mantle rocks. Several attempts have been made to discriminate zircon from different sources based on the trace element composition, with particular emphasis on rare-earth elements. However, all discrimination schemes only consider two to four variables (element concentrations) at a time, which often gives ambiguous results due to strongly overlapping compositional fields of zircon from a range of sources. The aim of this project is to compile a robust zircon trace-element database and develop an advanced zircon discrimination scheme that considers all element concentrations at a time.

• Tasks: Database compilation (Literature Survey and New Data Acquisition), Statistical Data Treatment (no previous knowledge required)
• Methods: LA-ICP-MS and R programming
• Field work: Not required
• Project Start: Anytime
• Project Type: Master Thesis