Lu is a rare earth element, whereas Hf is a transition metal whose behaviour mimics that of Zr.

Lu-Hf method

Lu-Hf isotopic studies are often undertaken on zircons (Zr2SiO4) in conjunction with U-Pb zircon dating.  This method is rapidly finding new applications with the recent development of laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) analysis.

LA-ICPMS analysis of zircons

  • Can now readily obtain precise Hf isotope ratio measurements on zircons in minutes
  • Can rapidly build up profile of Hf isotopic variation in a population of zircons