Linking titanite U–Pb dates to coupled deformation and dissolution–reprecipitation

Amy C. Moser, Bradley R. Hacker, George E. Gehrels, Gareth G.E. Seward, Andrew R.C. Kylander-Clark, Joshua M. Garber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Titanite U–Pb geochronology is a promising tool to date high-temperature tectonic processes, but the extent to and mechanisms by which recrystallization resets titanite U–Pb dates are poorly understood. This study combines titanite U–Pb dates, trace elements, zoning, and microstructures to directly date deformation and fluid-driven recrystallization along the Coast shear zone (BC, Canada). Twenty titanite grains from a deformed calc-silicate gneiss yield U–Pb dates that range from ~ 75 to 50 Ma. Dates between ~ 75 and 60 Ma represent metamorphic crystallization or inherited detrital cores, whereas ~ 60 and 50 Ma dates reflect localized, grain-scale processes that variably recrystallized the titanite. All the analyzed titanite grains show evidence of fluid-mediated dissolution–reprecipitation, particularly at grain rims, but lack evidence of thermally mediated volume diffusion at a metamorphic temperature of > 700 °C. The younger U–Pb dates are predominantly found in bent portions of grains or fluid-recrystallized rims. These features likely formed during ductile slip and associated fluid flow along the Coast shear zone, although it is unclear whether the dates represent 10 Myr of continuous recrystallization or incomplete resetting of the titanite U–Pb system during a punctuated metamorphic event. Correlations between dates and trace-element concentrations vary, indicating that the effects of dissolution–reprecipitation decoupled U–Pb dates from trace-element concentrations in some grains. These results demonstrate that U–Pb dates from bent titanite lattices and titanite subgrains may directly date crystal-plastic deformation, suggesting that deformation microstructures enhance fluid-mediated recrystallization, and emphasize the complexity of fluid and deformation processes within and among individual grains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number42
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Coast shear zone
  • Deformation
  • Interface-coupled dissolution–reprecipitation
  • Titanite
  • U–Pb geochronology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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