U–Pb dating of mineral deposits: From age constraints to ore-forming processes
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Description: The knowledge of the timing and duration of ore-forming processes are perhaps one of the most desirable pieces of information that geologists require to draw a complete picture of the deposit and to put its genesis into a coherent regional or even global geological framework. In many cases, it represents an essential parameter for establishing detailed genetic models, and can critically impact on exploration strategies. This necessarily requires a reliable, precise and accurate geochronometer. This chapter reviews the basics of the U–Pb geochronology and the most commonly used dating techniques and minerals while pointing out their respective advantages, weaknesses and potential pitfalls. Through a series of case studies, we illustrate the various usages of U–Pb dating for the study of mineral deposits. Admittedly, U–Pb geochronology is a field that is strongly biased toward the use of zircon and this chapter is not an exception. Nevertheless, we will also shed light on U–Pb dating applied to less commonly encountered and dated minerals.