LA-ICP-MS Pb–U dating of young zircons from the Kos–Nisyros volcanic centre, SE Aegean arc
Zircon Pb–U dating has become a key technique for answering many important questions in geosciences. This paper describes a new LA-ICP-MS approach. We show, using previously dated samples of a large quaternary rhyolitic eruption in the Kos–Nisyros volcanic centre (the 161 ka Kos Plateau Tuff), that the precision of our LA-ICP-MS method is as good as via SHRIMP, while ID-TIMS measurements confirm the accuracy. Gradational age distribution over >140 ka of the Kos zircons and the near-absence of inherited cores indicate near-continuous crystallisation in a growing magma reservoir with little input from wall rocks. Previously undated silicic eruptions from Nisyros volcano (Lower Pumice, Nikia Flow, Upper Pumice), which are stratigraphically constrained to have happened after the Kos Plateau Tuff, are dated to be younger than respectively 124 ± 35 ka, 111 ± 42 ka and 70 ± 24 ka. Samples younger than 1 Ma were corrected for initial thorium disequilibrium using a new formula that also accounts for disequilibrium in 230Th decay.