Ar-Ar dating of authigenic K-feldspar: Quantitative modelling of radiogenic argon-loss through subgrain boundary networks

D. F. Mark, S. P. Kelley, M. R. Lee, J. Parnell, S. C. Sherlock, D. J. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


We have analysed two distinct generations of authigenic K-feldspar in Fucoid Bed sandstones from An-t-Sron and Skiag Bridge, NW Highlands, Scotland, which have experienced post-growth heating to levels in excess of the predicted Ar-closure temperature. Authigenic K-feldspars show microtextural similarities to patch perthites; that is subgrains separated by dislocation-rich boundary networks that potentially act as fast diffusion pathways for radiogenic argon.

The two generations of authigenic K-feldspar in the Fucoid Bed sandstones can be distinguished by different microtextural zones, bulk mineral compositions, fluid-inclusion populations, and inferred temperatures and chemistries of parent fluids. Ar-Ar age data obtained using high-resolution ultraviolet laser ablation, show that the first cementing generation is Ordovician and the second cementing generation is Silurian.

Modelling of Ar diffusion using subgrain size as the effective diffusion dimension and a simplified tectono-thermal thrust model assuming transient heating of the Fucoid Beds is inconsistent with observed data. Removal of heat from the thrust zone through rapid flushing of heated fluids rather than transient heating can be invoked to explain the observed Ar-Ar ages for both generations of cement. Alternatively, Ar-diffusion modelling using overgrowth thickness as the effective diffusion dimension instead of subgrain size also yields models that are consistent with both the Fucoid Bed palaeothermal maxima and determined Ar-Ar age ages for the two generations of K-feldspar cement. Based on this alternate explanation, we propose a theoretical microtextural model that highlights fundamental differences between the microtextures of deuterically formed patch perthites and authigenic K-feldspars, explaining the apparent robustness of authigenic K-feldspar with respect to Ar-retention. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2695-2710
Number of pages16
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number11
Early online date8 Apr 2008
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • alkali feldspars
  • fluid-flow
  • diffusion profiles
  • brine migration
  • excess argon
  • overgrowths
  • resolution
  • events
  • ion
  • microtextures


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