The U-Pb geochronology service offered by the Central Analytical Facility has resumed in January 2017. Clients now have the possibility of dating simple and complex igneous zircons, detrital zircons, as well as monazite. Instrumentation includes 2 Resolution 193nm excimer lasers, interfaced with an E2 SF ICP-MS for U-Pb work,or an Agilent 7700 ICP-MS for trace element work.
The following two service options are available to clients:
1. Training in setting up their own sequences after all instrumentation has been optimised by the CAF scientist, as well as hands-on training in U-Pb data processing and interpretation using Iolite, Glitter and Isoplot software. The CAF scientist will perform final quality control and validation of the data.
2. Alternatively, all the analytical work can be performed by CAF staff, but then at a higher cost, with co-authorship on all publications resulting from this work.
A mineral separation service will not be provided by CAF, but we will provide training for researchers to perform their own mineral separation, sample mounting and imaging at our facilities. Users can also submit heavy mineral concentrates and CAF staff can mount, polish and image the samples at an additional cost. All samples submitted as polished mounts will have to be prepared according to our guidelines. If SEM images are supplied, they should be supplied as high-resolution, well-contrasted CL and BSE images for zircon, and BSE images for monazite.
The SELFFRAG instrument at the University of Pretoria is accessible at reasonable cost and extremely efficient at generating mineral powders from which the heavy minerals of interest can easily be separated.
The turn-around time for batches of 10 samples or less, from receipt of the samples as prepared mounts to the handing over of final age data, will be 6 weeks. Allow an additional 2 weeks if CAF does the mounting and imaging of the samples.