"Pequenos relógios" cristalizam a compreensão das colisões de meteoritos

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Atomic-scale age resolution of planetary events

L. F. White, J. R. Darling, D. E. Moser, D. A. Reinhard, T. J. Prosa, D. Bullen, D. Olson, D. J. Larson, D. Lawrence & I. Martin

Nature Communications 8, Article number: 15597 (2017)

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Geochemistry Meteoritics

Received: 20 September 2016 Accepted: 12 April 2017

Published online: 26 May 2017

The Barringer meteorite impact crater in Arizona, USA. 


Resolving the timing of crustal processes and meteorite impact events is central to understanding the formation, evolution and habitability of planetary bodies. However, identifying multi-stage events from complex planetary materials is highly challenging at the length scales of current isotopic techniques. Here we show that accurate U-Pb isotopic analysis of nanoscale domains of baddeleyite can be achieved by atom probe tomography. Within individual crystals of highly shocked baddeleyite from the Sudbury impact structure, three discrete nanostructural domains have been isolated yielding average 206Pb/238U ages of 2,436±94 Ma (protolith crystallization) from homogenous-Fe domains, 1,852±45 Ma (impact) from clustered-Fe domains and 1,412±56 Ma (tectonic metamorphism) from planar and subgrain boundary structures. Baddeleyite is a common phase in terrestrial, Martian, Lunar and asteroidal materials, meaning this atomic-scale approach holds great potential in establishing a more accurate chronology of the formation and evolution of planetary crusts.


We gratefully acknowledge the support of CAMECA in conducting APT analyses. This project was supported by Royal Society Research Grant RG160237, the Elspeth Matthews Fund of the Geological Society of London and a University of Portsmouth RDF Grant to J.R.D., and Canadian NSERC Discovery Grants to D.M. We thank I. Barker for his expert assistance with SEM analyses, Vale and Xstrata for assistance with fieldwork and two anonymous reviewers whose insights helped to improve this manuscript.

Author information


School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Burnaby Building, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth PO1 3QL, UK

L. F. White, J. R. Darling & D. Bullen

Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada N6A 5B7

D. E. Moser

CAMECA, Madison, Wisconsin 53711, USA

D. A. Reinhard, T. J. Prosa, D. Olson, D. J. Larson, D. Lawrence & I. Martin


All authors contributed to this work. D.E.M. and J.R.D. designed the initial project. All authors conducted portions of either, or both, the fundamental SEM and APT data collection and processing. L.F.W., D.A.R., D.E.M. and J.R.D. reduced and interpreted the APT data. L.F.W. reduced the SEM data. L.F.W. wrote the main paper and all authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript at all stages.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to L. F. White.