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Petrology and geochronology of ‘muscovite age standard’ B4M

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posted on 21.06.2016, 11:15 by Alexandra R. Heri, Martin Robyr, Igor M. Villa

Muscovite B4M, distributed in 1961 as an age standard, was ground under ethanol. Five grain size fractions were obtained and characterized by X-ray diffraction. They display a mixing trend between a phengitic (enriched in the fraction <0.2 µm) and a muscovitic component (predominant in the fraction >20 µm). High-pressure phengite is preserved as a relict in retrograde muscovite. Electron microprobe analyses of the distributed mineral separate reveal at least four white mica populations based on Si, Al, Mg, Na, Fe and F. Rb/K ratios vary by one order of magnitude. Rb–Sr analyses link the mineralogical heterogeneity to variable Rb/Sr and 87Sr/86Sr ratios. The grain size fractions define no internal isochron. Relict fine-grained phengite gives older ages than coarse-grained retrograde greenschist facies muscovite. The inverse grain size–age relationship also characterizes 39Ar/40Ar analyses. Cl/K anticorrelates with step ages: Cl-rich coarse muscovite is younger than Cl-poor fine relict phengite. Sr and Ar preserve a similar isotopic inheritance despite peak metamorphism reaching 635±20 °C. A suitable mineral standard requires that its petrological equilibrium first be demonstrated. Relicts and retrograde reaction textures are a guarantee of isotopic disequilibrium and heterogeneous ages within single crystal at the micrometre scale.