Annealing of ion tracks in apatite under pressure characterized in situ by small angle x-ray scattering

Daniel Schauries, Boshra Afra, Pablo Mota-Santiago, Christina Trautmann, Maik Lang, Rodney C. Ewing, Nigel Kirby, Patrick Kluth*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Fission track thermochronology is routinely used to investigate the thermal history of sedimentary basins, as well as tectonic uplift and denudation rates. While the effect of temperature on fission track annealing has been studied extensively to calibrate the application of the technique, the effect of pressure during annealing is generally considered to be negligible. However, a previous study suggested elevated pressure results in a significantly different annealing behaviour that was previously unknown. Here, we present a method to study track annealing in situ under high pressure by using synchrotron-based small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS). To simulate fission tracks in a controlled environment, ion tracks were created in apatite from Durango, Mexico using 2 GeV Au or Bi ions provided by an ion accelerator facility. Samples were annealed at 250 °C at approximately 1 GPa pressure using diamond anvil cells (DACs) with heating capabilities. Additional in situ annealing experiments at ambient pressure and temperatures between 320 and 390 °C were performed for comparison. At elevated pressure a significantly accelerated annealing rate of the tracks was observed compared with annealing at ambient pressure. However, when extrapolated to geologically relevant temperatures and pressures, the effects become very small. The measurement methodology presented provides a new avenue to study materials behaviour in extreme environments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1367
    JournalScientific Reports
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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