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Investigating the Shallow to Mid-Depth (>100–300 °C) Continental Crust Evolution with (U-Th)/He Thermochronology: A Review

Cécile Gautheron 1 Mathias Hueck Sébastien Ternois 2, 3 Beatrix Heller 1 Stéphane Schwartz 4 Philippe Sarda 1 Laurent Tassan-Got 5 
3 Géodynamique - UMR7327
BRGM - Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), ISTO - Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans - UMR7327 : UMR7327, INSU - CNRS - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers, UO - Université d'Orléans : UMR7327
Abstract : Quantifying geological processes has greatly benefited from the development and use of thermochronometric methods over the last fifty years. Among them is the (U-Th)/He dating method, which is based on the production and retention, within a crystal structure, of radiogenic 4He atoms associated with the alpha decay of U, Th and Sm nuclei. While apatite has been the main target of (U-Th)/He studies focusing on exhumation and burial processes in the upper levels of the continental crust (~50–120 °C), the development of (U-Th)/He methods for typical phases of igneous and metamorphic rocks (e.g., zircon and titanite) or mafic and ultramafic rocks (e.g., magnetite) over the last two decades has opened up a myriad of geological applications at higher temperatures (>100–300 °C). Thanks to the understanding of the role of radiation damage in He diffusion and retention for U-Th-poor and rich mineral phases, the application of (U-Th)/He thermochronometry to exhumation processes and continental evolution through deep time is now mainstream. This contribution reviews the (U-Th)/He thermochronometer principle and the influence of radiation damage in modifying the diffusion behavior. It presents applications of (U-Th)/He dating to problems in tectonic and surface processes at shallow to middle crustal depths (>100–300 °C). New and promising applications using a combination of methods will stimulate a research avenue in the future.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 23, 2022 - 11:19:08 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 4:06:13 AM


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Cécile Gautheron, Mathias Hueck, Sébastien Ternois, Beatrix Heller, Stéphane Schwartz, et al.. Investigating the Shallow to Mid-Depth (>100–300 °C) Continental Crust Evolution with (U-Th)/He Thermochronology: A Review. Minerals, MDPI, 2022, 12 (5), pp.563. ⟨10.3390/min12050563⟩. ⟨insu-03675552⟩



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