Closure Temperature

In radiometric dating, closure temperature or blocking temperature refers to the temperature of a system, such as a mineral, at the time given by its radiometric date. In physical terms, the closure temperature is the temperature at which a system has cooled so that there is no longer any significant diffusion of the parent or daughter isotopes out of the system and into the external environment. The concept's initial mathematical formulation was presented in a seminal paper by Martin H. Dodson, "Closure temperature in cooling geochronological and petrological systems" in the journal Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 1973, with refinements to a usable experimental formulation by other scientists in later years. This temperature varies broadly among different minerals and also differs depending on the parent and daughter atoms being considered. It is specific to a particular material and isotopic system.

The closure temperature of a system can be experimentally determined in the lab by artificially resetting sample minerals using a high-temperature furnace. As the mineral cools, the crystal structure begins to form and diffusion of isotopes slows. At a certain temperature, the crystal structure has formed sufficiently to prevent diffusion of isotopes. This temperature is what is known as blocking temperature and represents the temperature below which the mineral is a closed system to measurable diffusion of isotopes. Thus an igneous or metamorphic rock or melt, which is slowly cooling, does not begin to exhibit measurable radioactive decay of the parent to a daughter isotope until it cools below the blocking temperature. The age that can be calculated by radiometric dating is thus the time at which the rock or mineral cooled to blocking temperature.

These temperatures can also be determined in the field by comparing them to the dates of other minerals with well-known closure temperatures.

Closure temperatures are used in geochronology and thermochronology to date events and determine rates of processes in the geologic past.

Read more about Closure TemperatureTable of Values

Other articles related to "closure temperature, closure temperatures":

Argon–argon Dating - Applications
... reflects the time when a mineral cooled through its closure temperature ... in a metamorphic rock that has not exceeded its closure temperature the age likely dates the crystallization of the mineral ... Different minerals have different closure temperatures biotite is ~300°C, muscovite is about 400°C and hornblende has a closure temperature of ~550°C ...
Closure Temperature - Table of Values - Uranium-lead Method
... Mineral Closure temperature (°C) Titanite 600-650 Rutile 400-450 Apatite 450-500 Zircon >1000 Monazite >1000 ...

Famous quotes containing the word temperature:

    The bourgeois treasures nothing more highly than the self.... And so at the cost of intensity he achieves his own preservation and security. His harvest is a quiet mind which he prefers to being possessed by God, as he prefers comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to that deathly inner consuming fire.
    Hermann Hesse (1877–1962)