Zircon M257 - A homogeneous natural reference material for the ion microprobe U-Pb analysis of zircon

Lutz Nasdala, Wolfgang Hofmeister, Nicholas Norberg, James M. Martinson, Fernando Corfu, Wolfgang Dörr, Sandra L. Kamo, Allen K. Kennedy, Andreas Kronz, Peter W. Reiners, Dirk Frei, Jan Kosler, Yusheng Wan, Jens Götze, Tobias Häger, Alfred Kröner, John W. Valley

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756 Scopus citations


We introduce and propose zircon M257 as a future reference material for the determination of zircon U-Pb ages by means of secondary ion mass spectrometry. This light brownish, flawless, cut gemstone specimen from Sri Lanka weighed 5.14 g (25.7 carats). Zircon M257 has TIMS-determined, mean isotopic ratios (2s uncertainties) of 0.09100 ± 0.00003 for 206pb/238U and 0.7392 ± 0.0003 for 207pb/235U. Its 206pb/238U age is 561.3 ± 0.3 Ma (unweighted mean, uncertainty quoted at the 95% confidence level); the U-Pb system is concordant within uncertainty of decay constants. Zircon M257 contains ∼ 840 μg g-1 U (Th/U ∼ 0.27). The material exhibits remarkably low heterogeneity, with a virtual absence of any internal textures even in cathodoluminescence images. The uniform, moderate degree of radiation damage (estimated from the expansion of unit-cell parameters, broadening of Raman spectral parameters and density) corresponds well, within the "Sri Lankan trends", with actinide concentrations, U-Pb age, and the calculated alpha fluence of 1.66 × 1018 g-1. This, and a (U+Th)/He age of 419 ± 9 Ma (2s), enables us to exclude any unusual thermal history or heat treatment, which could potentially have affected the retention of radiogenic Pb. The oxygen isotope ratio of this zircon is 13.9‰ VSMOW suggesting a metamorphic genesis in a marble or calc-silicate skarn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-265
Number of pages19
JournalGeostandards and Geoanalytical Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Geochronology
  • M257
  • Reference material
  • SIMS
  • Secondary ion mass spectrometry
  • U-Pb
  • Zircon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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