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Title: Combined nanostructural and isotopic analysis of baddeleyite : new horizons in solar system chronology
Author: White, Lee Francis
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 2661
Awarding Body: University of Portsmouth
Current Institution: University of Portsmouth
Date of Award: 2017
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Baddeleyite (monoclinic-ZrO2) is an exceptionally common accessory phase in many of the mafic and ultra-mafic rocks prevalent throughout the Solar System. This study presents the first ground-truthing efforts in the development of this robust mineral into a diagnostic indicator, discrete barometer, and precise U-Pb geochronometer of shock metamorphism by combining electron backscatter diffraction and atom probe tomography to generate unique chemical and structural datasets. Microstructural analysis of variably shocked baddeleyite grains around the Sudbury impact structure (Ontario, Canada) highlights a series of crystallographic structures that can be correlated with discrete variations in formative pressure-temperature conditions. Decompression at high temperatures generates a series of interlocking reversion twinned structures, while quenching forms a quasi-amorphous matrix. These features are comparable to those observed in extra-terrestrial samples, where they can be directly linked with the severity and extent of lead loss and age resetting. This finding facilitates the application of baddeleyite as a shock indicator, barometer (>5 GPa) and chronometer in a wide range of planetary materials. This structural variability is also observable on the nanometre scale. Analysis of the most highly shocked Sudbury baddeleyite using atom probe tomography reveals planar and curvi-planar fractures, trace element enriched subgrain boundaries, and solid-state diffusion clusters. These micrometre and nanometre scale features encourage localised diffusion of lead, with whole-microtip U-Pb analyses yielding complex partially reset ages. The application of atom probe tomography allows these features to be spatially resolved on the nanometre scale, yielding highly accurate ages for protolith crystallization and impact metamorphism within a single grain. These results have significant implications for the isotopic analysis of baddeleyite-bearing planetary materials, where the mechanisms of U-Pb age resetting have until now been poorly understood.
Supervisor: Darling, James Richard ; Moser, D. E. ; Bullen, Dean Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geochronology ; Meteorite ; Nanostructure ; EBSD ; Atom Probe ; Baddeleyite ; Impact Structure