Geochronology Services

We offer U-Pb geochronology on zircons and accessory minerals and Lu-Hf dating on garnets. 

U-Pb Geochronology

Rock samples are first crushed and ground and minerals are separated by water-table (Wilfley table), heavy-liquid and magnetic separation (Frantz magnetic separator).

Zircon grains or grain fragments are manually picked under magnification for imaging analyses. The external morphology of grains is documented by scanning election microscopy while internal structures are examined in polished grain mounts by cathodoluminescence imaging.

PCIGR offers both isotope-dilution and in-situ age analyses applied separately or in tandem where applicable.

Isotope-dilution analysis: Zircons and other accessory minerals are processed with the chemical abrasion, single-grain U-Pb technique using an EARTHTIME ET535 tracer or a UBC 205Pb-233-235U isotope tracer. Analyses are performed via a Nu Instruments Nu TIMS, VG354S or VG54R thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS).

In-situ analysis: Zircons and accessory minerals can be analyzed via an excimer laser ablation system coupled to an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). We have the following laser ablation set-ups:

Lu-Hf Dating

For dating of garnets, grains are washed and admixed with a calibrated and tested UBC 176Lu-180Hf isotope tracer. The mixture then undergoes a stepwise dissolution and cation-exchange chromatography. Lu and Hf isotope compositions are measured via our Nu Instruments Plasma multicollector ICP-MS instrument.

Contacts and Costs

For questions about geochronology instrumentation and submitting samples to PCIGR, contact:

Please do not submit raw or prepared samples without first speaking to us. Thank you.

Consult the Fees page for detailed analytical and sample preparation costs.

Geochronology Services [PDF] cover sheet

Download our Geochronology Services brochure [PDF]


First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Chats Two speech clouds. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. External Link An arrow entering a square. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Location Pin A map location pin. Mail An envelope. Menu Three horizontal lines indicating a menu. Minus A minus sign. Telephone An antique telephone. Plus A plus symbol indicating more or the ability to add. Search A magnifying glass. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service.