High-precision CA-ID-TIMS U-Pb geochronology of zircon: Materials, methods, and interpretations

Urs Schaltegger, Maria Ovtcharova, Blair Schoene

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we provide detailed information on all steps of the chemical abrasion, isotope dilution, thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) dating technique, mostly applied to the mineral zircon, the most precise and accurate method to quantify time in the geological past. We go through all the major steps of the entire analytical procedure, starting from sample preparation and mineral separation, through the chemical preparation and ion chromatographic separation of elements of interest, to precise isotope ratio analysis by thermal ionization mass spectrometry, and finally, interpretation of high-precision zircon dates in igneous rocks. This discussion is intended for both novice and experienced users, serving the former as an overview of the technique, and to offer the latter enough details to steer further in-depth inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods and Applications of Geochronology
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9780443188039
ISBN (Print)9780443188022
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Geochronology
  • U-Pb
  • Zircon


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