(U-Th)/He chronology: part 2. Considerations for evaluating, integrating, and interpreting conventional individual aliquot data

Flowers, R.M., Ketcham, R.A., Enkelmann, E., Gautheron, C., Reiners, P.W., Metcalf, J.R., Danišík, M., Stockli, D.F. and Brown, R.W. (2022) (U-Th)/He chronology: part 2. Considerations for evaluating, integrating, and interpreting conventional individual aliquot data. Geological Society of America Bulletin, (doi: 10.1130/B36268.1) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

The (U-Th)/He dating technique is an essential tool in Earth science research with diverse thermochronologic, geochronologic, and detrital applications. It is now used in a wide range of tectonic, structural, petrological, sedimentary, geomorphic, volcanological, and planetary studies. While in some circumstances the interpretation of (U-Th)/He data is relatively straightforward, in other cases it is less so. In some geologic contexts, individual analyses of the same mineral from a single sample are expected to yield dates that differ well beyond their analytical uncertainty owing to variable He diffusion kinetics. Although much potential exists to exploit this phenomenon to decipher more detailed thermal history information, distinguishing interpretable intra-sample data variation caused by kinetic differences between crystals from uninterpretable overdispersion caused by other factors can be challenging. Nor is it always simple to determine under what circumstances it is appropriate to integrate multiple individual analyses using a summary statistic such as a mean sample date or to decide on the best approach for incorporating data into the interpretive process of thermal history modeling. Here we offer some suggestions for evaluating data, attempt to summarize the current state of thinking on the statistical characterization of data sets, and describe the practical choices (e.g., model structure, path complexity, data input, weighting of different geologic and chronologic information) that must be made when setting up thermal history models. We emphasize that there are no hard and fast rules in any of these realms, which continue to be an important focus of improvement and community discussion, and no single interpretational and modeling philosophy should be forced on data sets. The guiding principle behind all suggestions made here is for transparency in reporting the steps and assumptions associated with evaluating, integrating, and interpreting data, which will promote the continued development of (U-Th)/He chronology.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:U.S. National Science Foundation grants EAR-1822119, -1844182, and -1925489 to R.M. Flowers provided partial support for this work.
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brown, Professor Roderick
Authors: Flowers, R.M., Ketcham, R.A., Enkelmann, E., Gautheron, C., Reiners, P.W., Metcalf, J.R., Danišík, M., Stockli, D.F., and Brown, R.W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Geological Society of America Bulletin
Publisher:Geological Society of America
ISSN:0016-7606
ISSN (Online):1943-2674
Published Online:20 April 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Geological Society of America Bulletin 2022
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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