Deciphering a multi-event in a non-complex set of detrital zircon U–Pb ages from Carboniferous graywackes of SW Iberia

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The determination of U-Pb ages from detrital zircons of sedimentary rocks using LA-ICP-MS has been widely used for the purpose of provenance analysis. One problem that frequently arises is finding a population that appears to be non-complex despite several perceptible age peaks in its spectrum. These peaks are qualitatively defined by means of relative probability diagrams, or PDFs, but it is difficult to quantify their statistical significance relative to a zircon forming multi-event. Thus, can a multi-event in a non-complex set of detrital zircon U-Pb ages be deciphered and characterized?The aim of this study is to attempt to provide an answer to this question by means of statistical analysis. Its objectives are: a) to determine the best minimum number of zircon age populations (peaks), BmPs, b) for the characterization of each peak in terms of age and event duration; c) to compare the results obtained from two datasets showing similar zircon ages; and d) to demonstrate the usefulness of deciphering these BmPs. First, cluster analysis is carried out, aimed at grouping zircon ages into a set of consistent clusters. A Gaussian Kernel function is then fitted to each cluster and summed to obtain a theoretical PDFm (modeled probability density function). Finally, the selected modeled PDFm (that built on the BmPs) is that which reports the lowest number of peaks for which the difference as compared with the original gPDF (global probability density function) is equal to or below 5%. Deciphered BmP peaks can be characterized and used for characterizing and providing an understanding of related event(s).A geological interpretation, based on the results obtained, is attempted. This includes a robust measure for maximum age of deposition for both Cabrela and Mertola graywackes.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)62–74
JournalChemical Geology
Issue numberNA
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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