SHRIMP II Applications
- Examining stellar nucleosynthesis.
- Calibrating the Palaeozoic time-scale.
- Dating of the Earth’s oldest crust.
- Examining the oldest zircons in the solar system.
- Measuring trace elements in diamond inclusions.
- Investigating Ti isotopic ratios in meteorites.
- Determining Pb isotopic composition of lunar granites.
- Paleoclimatology from oxygen isotope ratios in fossil apatite.
SHRIMP zircon dating has led to improved understanding, for example, of the timing and origins of mineralisation of the giant Olympic Dam copper-uranium-gold-silver deposit in South Australia, gold-copper deposits in Tennant Creek area of the Northern Territory, the gold and nickel deposits of Western Australia and Canada. The versitility of SHRIMP in fields of other than uranium-lead dating has been illustrated graphically by probing the composition of sulphur at the micro scale in the sulphide minerals that form metal ores. Vital new understanding of the origin of mineral deposits around the world has resulted.
The isotopic composition of sulphur in the giant base metal ore bodies which supply most of the world’s copper, zinc, lead and silver is sensitive to whether that sulphur is derived from sediments or from hot fluids originating deep in the Earth. Knowing the source of the sulphur for each ore body helps in determining why metals were deposited and directs the exploration strategy adopted in the search for new ore bodies.