Detrital zircon spectra reflect the tectonic setting of the basin in which they are deposited. Convergent plate margins are characterized by a large proportion of zircon ages close to the depositional age of the sediment, whereas sediments in collisional, extensional and intracratonic settings contain greater proportions with older ages that reflect the history of the underlying basement. These differences can be resolved by plotting the distribution of the difference between the measured crystallization ages (CA) of individual zircon grains present in the sediment and the depositional age (DA) of the sediment. Application of this approach to successions where the original nature of the basin and/or the link to source are no longer preserved constrains the tectonic setting in which the sediment was deposited.
- LAURENTIAN MARGIN