Assessment of five monazite reference materials for U-Th/Pb dating using laser-ablation ICP-MS

Marianne Richter, Yona Nebel-Jacobsen, Oliver Nebel, Thomas Zack, Regina Mertz-Kraus, Massimo Raveggi, Delia Rösel

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Monazite is a common accessory phosphate mineral that occurs under a wide range of pressure and temperature conditions in sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. Monazite contains high amounts of Th and U, rendering single monazite grains suitable for in-situ U-Th/Pb dating using laser ablation inductively-coupled mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Two key aspects of monazite dating that are critical for accurate age data with maximum precision are (i) optimized instrumental conditions to minimize analytical scatter and (ii) a well characterized reference material to ensure the accuracy of the obtained aged. Here, we analyzed five monazite reference materials (USGS 44069, 94-222, MAdel, Moacir and Thompson Mine Monazite) for their U-Th/Pb ages using LA-ICP-MS technique and applied a variety of laser spot diameters and repetition rates to find the best operational conditions to achieve accurate age data while maintaining maximum precision. We find that a spot diameter of 10 μm and a repetition rate of 10 Hz yield the most precise ages with a deviation of ±2.0% from their respective high-precision U/Pb literature age data. Ages were reproduced in three different LA-ICP-MS laboratories using these parameters. Each reference material was tested for its suitability as a matrix-matched age reference material. For this, a rotating, iterative approach was adopted in which one reference monazite was used as calibration reference material against all others, which were treated as unknowns. The results reveal that USGS 44069, 94-222, Thompson Mine Monazite and MAdel all agree with their respective calculated ages and ID-TIMS reference ages and thus are suggested as suitable calibration reference materials. Moacir, however, appears slightly older than previously suggested (up to 4%), thus, caution is advised here when using Moacir as reference material for U-Th/Pb LA-ICP-MS dating in the absence of further absolute age calibration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number391
Number of pages21
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • 94-222
  • MAdel
  • Moacir
  • Monazite
  • Reference material
  • TMM
  • U-Th/Pb dating
  • USGS 44069

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