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Anders Scherstén

Anders Scherstén

Senior lecturer

Anders Scherstén

Baddeleyite formation in zircon by Ca-bearing fluids in silica-saturated systems in nature and experiment : resetting of the U–Pb geochronometer


  • Alexander Lewerentz
  • Daniel E. Harlov
  • Anders Scherstén
  • Martin J. Whitehouse

Summary, in English

Intergrowths of baddeleyite have been found in zircon grain interiors from amphibolite- and granulite-facies felsic rocks from southwest Greenland. The zircon grains are either close to or in direct contact with quartz. A series of experiments has been conducted using natural, unaltered zircon grains ± SiO2 in H2O–CaCl2, and H2O–Ca(OH)2 solutions with varying molar proportions of Ca to Si at 900 °C; 1000 MPa and 600 °C; 400 MPa for 4–50 days. Experimental results indicate that baddeleyite formed in the reacted zircon if the molar amount of Ca was close to or greater than Si in the system. The baddeleyite primarily takes the form of bead-like trails along the reaction front between the altered and unaltered zircon. Uranium, Th, and Y + REE were detected in both the newly formed baddeleyite and in the altered zircon, while Pb was effectively absent in both phases. Formation of baddeleyite from zircon in the silica-saturated rocks only appears to be possible when Ca saturates the system, such that the Si is tied up as CaSiO3 lowering the silica activity to < 1. This highly localized (µm to nm scale) effect in natural quartz-bearing rocks, where baddeleyite forms in the interiors of zircon grains in contact with quartz, implies that metastability in natural rock-forming systems can occur on a very small scale. Non-incorporation of Pb in the newly formed baddeleyite, or in areas of the zircon altered by fluids, implies that either could be used to date the metasomatic event responsible for their formation.


  • Lithosphere and Biosphere Science

Publishing year





Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology





Document type

Journal article




  • Geology


  • Baddeleyite
  • Experimental petrology
  • Fluid alteration
  • U–Pb geochronology
  • Zircon




  • ISSN: 0010-7999