Samarium-Neodymium Direct Dating of Fluorite Mineralization

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Science  17 May 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5008, pp. 949-951
DOI: 10.1126/science.252.5008.949


The direct dating of many styles of hydrothermal mineralization has proved difficult, limiting understanding of the geological processes that lead to crustal fluid flow and the formation of major ore deposits. The hydrothermal mineral fluorite (CaF2) displays large variations in rare earth element (REE) abundance and samarium/neodymium ratios within a single vein. Samarium-neodymium dating of fluorite from the classic granite-hosted tin deposits of southwest England demonstrates its use as a precise chronometer of mineralization. The concentrations of light rare earth elements (LREEs) in the fluorites are highly variable and suggest the coeval precipitation of an LREE-rich phase as the most likely cause of the extreme variation in samarium/neodymium ratios.

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