K-feldspar hygrochronology

Villa, Igor Maria; Hanchar, John M. (2013). K-feldspar hygrochronology. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 101, pp. 24-33. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.gca.2012.09.047

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The significance of the multi-isotopic record preserved in K-feldspars is assessed on samples from the Aar metagranite, Central Alps, Switzerland having very tight independent geological constraints. Stepwise leaching reveals that two diachronically grown K-feldspar generations coexist: Kfs-1 (≥ 35 Ma old, Ca-poor, Rb-Cl-rich, with low 87Sr/86Sr and high 206Pb/204Pb) and Kfs-2 (≤ 10 Ma old, antithetic isotopic signatures deriving from external fluids). Microtextures imaged by cathodoluminescence, backscattered electrons, and electron probe microanalysis are patchy and chemically heterogeneous, with pronounced enrichments in Ba in the retrogressed regions. This confirms the simultaneous presence of fluid-dominated retrogression and recrystallization and isotopic inheritance. The staircase-shaped 40Ar/39Ar age spectrum correlates with the Ca/K and Cl/K signatures. This reflects a mixture of heterochemical K-feldspar generations, and not an intracrystalline Ar gradient caused by diffusion. The shape of the age spectrum and the in vacuo release kinetics proceed from entirely different physical and geological phenomena.
What K-feldspars can be effectively used for is to constrain the timing of the fluids that interacted with them by multi-isotopic analyses, rather than to model a “cooling history” from 39Ar release alone. The identification of multiple mineral generations by imaging combined with multi-isotopic analysis enables the accurate dating of the events of a multistage evolution after the initial crystallization of the rock in which the minerals occur.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Villa, Igor Maria


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Elsevier Science




Igor Maria Villa-Toscani

Date Deposited:

14 Aug 2014 11:08

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31

Publisher DOI:






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