Zircons from Jack Hills in the Narryer Gneiss Terrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, have yielded U-Pb ages up to 4.404 billion years, interpreted to be the age of crystallization, making them the oldest minerals so far dated on Earth.
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Zircon is also very resistant to heat and corrosion.
Because of their uranium and thorium content, some zircons undergo metamictization.
Zircon occurs in many colors, including reddish brown, yellow, green, blue, gray and colorless.
In geological settings, the development of pink, red, and purple zircon occurs after hundreds of millions of years, if the crystal has sufficient trace elements to produce color centers.
This is done using an integrated cathodoluminescence and scanning electron microscope.
Zircons in sedimentary rock can identify the sediment source.Zircon is a common accessory to trace mineral constituent of most granite and felsic igneous rocks.Due to its hardness, durability and chemical inertness, zircon persists in sedimentary deposits and is a common constituent of most sands.Color in this red or pink series is annealed in geological conditions above temperatures of around 400°C.), one of the most refractory materials known.Other applications include use in refractories and foundry casting and a growing array of specialty applications as zirconia and zirconium chemicals, including in nuclear fuel rods, catalytic fuel converters and in water and air purification systems. Zircon forms in silicate melts with large proportions of high field strength incompatible elements.