Whilst most of our provenance and correlation work is done on heavy mineral ratios,
greater understanding of provenance and more detailed subdivisions of sequences can be achieved by single grain geochemical analysis of an individual mineral
population. Minerals such as garnet and
tourmaline, which form solid solutions between a number of end-members exhibit widely varying
chemistry depending on conditions at time of formation. Variations in garnet and tourmaline geochemistry have proved particularly useful in discriminating
between different sand bodies. We are presently researching the viability of using laser ablation ICPMS to determine provenance related
variations in rutile and
apatite trace elements.
Single grain zircon age dating using the sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe can play a significant role in provenance studies. This technique is carried out in association with the Research School of Earth Sciences, at the Australian National University, Canberra.