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Geochemical Journal
Geochemical Journal An open access journal for geochemistry
Published for geochemistry community from Geochemical Society of Japan.

Attempt to determine U-Th ages of calcite veins in the Nojima fault zone, Japan

Geochemical Journal, Vol. 42, No. 6, P. 507-513, 2008


Fluids within fault zones can change the physical and chemical properties of fault materials and have a substantial influence on faulting. Therefore it is important to understand the nature and timing of fluid migration through fault zones. In order to evaluate the timing of fluid infiltration into a deep fault zone on Awaji Island in southern Japan, we attempted to measure U-Th radioactive disequilibrium of carbonate minerals from the Nojima fault, which triggered the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Bulk carbonate samples of vein material have U concentrations of 1.2 to 2 ppm and Th concentrations of 1.6 to 6.5 ppm. The high Th abundances derived from detritus requires correction for initial 230Th in order to acquire an accurate U-Th age. Bulk carbonate samples plot near the equiline in a (230Th/232Th)-(234U/232Th) diagram, suggesting that they precipitated around or before 450 ka. Monte Carlo simulation with finite-age constraint in the IsoPlot program yields a 230Th/234U age of 486 (+380, -190) ka. The presence of radioactive disequilibrium in (234U/238U) indicates that the calcite precipitation age was younger than 1 Ma. The results of leaching experiments indicate that a leaching procedure after firing causes considerable laboratory fractionation of U and Th and does not provide usable age information.


calcite, U-Th dating, Nojima fault zone, geochronology, ICP-MS

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