U-Pb dating of zircon in the Bishop Tuff at the millennial scale

Jim L. Crowley, B. Schoene, S. A. Bowring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

282 Scopus citations


Zircon from the Bishop Tuff (eastern California) was dated by the U-Pb isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) method to evaluate time scales of magmatic evolution and applicability of the method to rocks younger than 1 Ma. The 206Pb/238U dates from 17 of 19 grains are equivalent with a weighted mean of 767.1 ± 0.9 ka that overlaps with the published 40Ar/39Ar sanidine age, requiring that most zircon crystallized immediately before eruption. Dates from two grains that are 6 and 12 k.y. older indicate minimum times that a small portion of the grains resided in the magma. These findings are consistent with chemical zoning patterns in zircon that suggest a relatively simple crystallization history, yet contrast with previous results of ion microprobe dating of zircon that show 50-80 k.y. of magma residence. The weighted mean 207Pb/235U date is -52 k.y. older than the 206 Pb/238U date, a difference that is attributed to excess 207Pb from initial Pa/U disequitibrium. The results demonstrate that high-precision ID-TIMS geochronology can resolve magma chamber dynamics of <1 Ma silicic eruptions at the millennial scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1126
Number of pages4
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


  • Bishop Tuff
  • Disequilibrium
  • Magma residence
  • U-Pb geochronology
  • Zircon


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