Gas mass spectrometer VG 3600

University of Salzburg

Salzburg | Website

Large equipment

Short Description

The device includes a highly sensitive noble gas mass spectrometer VG 3600 with an upstream gas cleaning line and a UV and IR laser from Merchantek for heating the samples. The device is used for the quantitative analysis of noble gases and is primarily used for age dating with the 39Ar / 40Ar method. It is a sector field mass spectrometer with a Faraday collector and an electron multiplier as detectors. Atoms are ionized by electron impact, accelerated in a potential field and separated in the magnetic field of the sector magnet according to the landing / mass ratio. From the measured ratio of the Ar isotopes, with corrections, the age of the sample can be determined. The high sensitivity of the device enables the accurate dating of very small samples (single grains) and the gradual release of gas. This allows the detection of several Ar components in the system and thus better characterized age.

Contact Person

Dr. Johann Genser

Research Services

Dating of natural K-bearing minerals and rocks
Dating of ore deposits and evaporites (eg long-term safety issues of nuclear waste), of volcanics, of rocks from the early human history (volcanic tuff)
Stratigraphic issues in the oil industry (age of petroleum)
Questions of climate change

Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure

The noble gas mass spectrometer is at the heart of the Ar-Ar age dating. With this device, the relative abundance of argon isotopes (36Ar to 40Ar) in radioactively irradiated minerals or rock glass is determined, in principle, the isotopes of other noble gases (helium, neon, xenon) can be determined. The minerals or rock glasses are gradually heated with a laser, the resulting gas is cleaned and then the relative abundance of the individual isotopes is determined and calibrated against a standard. The high resolution of the device allows the determination of the age of mineral grains of a size of about 0.25 mm in diameter.

Allocation to Core Facility

Argon age dating

Dr. Johann Genser
Fachbereich Geographie und Geologie
0043 662 8044 5450
Please contact us via, or contact the responsible person for this section, mentioned in the contact field.
Prof. Christoph HEINRICH, Institute. for Isotope Geology and Mineral Resources, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Dr. Sibila BOROJEVIC-SOSTARIC, Technical University of Zagreb, Croatia
Prof. Ladislav PALINKAS, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Prof. SEYFRIED, University of Freiberg, Germany
Prof. Anke FRIEDRICH, University of Munich, Germany
Dr. Yamirka ROJAS-AGRAMONTE, University of Mainz, Germany
Dr. Gaelle PLISSART, Belgium
Geological Survey, Vienna
Prof. Walter KURZ, University of Graz, Austria
Prof. Harry FRITZ, University of Graz, Austria
Prof. Yunpeng DONG, Northwest University, Xi'an, China
Prof. Xiaoming LIU, Northwest University, Xi'an, China
Prof. Yongjiang LIU, Jilin University, Changchun, China
Prof. Shoumai REN, Strategic Research Center for Oil and Gas, MLR, Beijing, China
Prof. Junlai LIU, China University of Geosciences, Beijing, China
Dr. Fariba KARGARANBAFGHI, University of Yazd, Iran
Dr. Ali Reza DAVOUDIAN, University of Shahrekord, Iran
Prof. Daliran, Germany
Prof. Zivko IVANOV, University of Sofia, Bulgaria
Fatih Karaoglan, Turkey
Geochemistry and isotopic studies of REE-bearing Sangan Fe-Skarn, NE Iran
OEAD: Impulse Austria-Iran

Graphitic carbon: Formation and destruction of graphitic material in fault zones: Implications for fault strength and the carbon cycle
FWF-Projekt: P 28313-N29

Polyhalite: a key for dating sedimentary und tectonic processes of evaporites
FWF-Projekt: P22728

Late-stage orogenic evolution: How to link surface motion with distinct deep lithospheric processes
FWF-Projekt: P22110

Exhumation of Metamorphic Core Complexes
FWF-Projekt: M-1343

Subducted Cuba: Accretion of island arc systems at the northern margin of the Carribbean subduction system
ÖAW (IGCP 546)

GEODE - Geodynamics und ore deposit evolution
European Science Foundation
(umfangreiche Kooperationen mit schweizerischen und südosteuropäischen Ländern)

Dating of Detrital White Mica
FWF-Projekt: 10506
The Oligocene Reifnitz tonalite (Austria) and its host rocks: implications for Cretaceous and Oligocene-Neogene tectonics of southeastern Eastern Alps.
Neubauer, F., Heberer, B., Dunkl, I., Liu, S., Bernroider, M., Dong, Y.
Geologica Carpathica, 69, 237–253
doi: 10.1515/geoca-2018-0014.

Timing of orogenic exhumation processes of the Qinling Orogen: evidence from 40Ar/39Ar dating.
Dong, Y.-P., Neubauer, F., Genser, J., Sun, S.-S.. Yang, Z., Zhang, F., Cheng, B., Liu, X.-M., Zhang, G.-W.
Tectonics, Tect20977
doi: 10.1029/2017TC004765

Eocene high-pressure metamorphism and Oligocene retrogression on Naxos, Cyclades, Greece: Significance for Aegean tectonics and 40Ar/39Ar dating in polyphase metamorphic rocks.
Cao, S., Neubauer, F., Bernroider, M., Genser, J.
Tectonophysics, 745, 66–94.

Geochemical and isotopic evidence for Carboniferous rifting - mafic dykes in the central Sanandaj-Sirjan zone (Dorud-Azna, West Iran)
Shakerardakani, F., Neubauer, F., Bernroider, M., von Quadt, A., Peytcheva, I., Liu, X., Genser, J., Monfaredi, B., Masoudi, F.
Geologica Carpathica, 68/3, 229–247
doi: 10.1515/geoca-2017-0017

Low-grade retrogression of a high-temperature metamorphic core complex: Naxos, Cyclades, Greece.
Cao, S., Neubauer, F., Bernroider, F., Genser, J., Liu, J., Friedl, G.
Geological Society of America Bulletin, 129, 93–117

40Ar/39Ar mineral ages of eclogites from North Shahrekord in the Sanandaj–Sirjan zone, Iran: Implications for the tectonic evolution of Zagros orogen
Davoudian, A.R., Genser, J., Neubauer, F., Shabanian, N.
Gondwana Research, 37, 216–240

The temporal evolution of the active margin along the Southeast Anatolian Orogenic Belt (SE Turkey)
Karaǒglan F., Parlak O., Hejl E., Neubauer F., Klötzli U.
Evidence from U–Pb, Ar-Ar and fission track chronology. Gondwana Research
DOI: 10.1016/

Formation of an intra-orogenic transtensional basin: the Neogene Wagrain basin in the Eastern Alps
Neubauer F.
Swiss Journal of Geosciences
DOI: 10.1007/s00015-016-0206-7.

Petrogenesis and 40Ar/39Ar dating of proto-forearc crust in the early Cretaceous Caribbean Arc: The La Tinta mélange (eastern Cuba) and its easterly correlation in Dominican Republic
Lázaro C., Blanco-Quintero I. F., Proenza J. A., Rojas-Agramonte Y., Neubauer F., Núñez-Cambra K., Garcia-Casco A.
International Geology Review

Geochemistry of enclaves and host granitoids from the Kashan granitoid complex, central Iran: Implications for enclave generation by interaction of cogenetic magmas
Honarmand M., Omrani N. R., Neubauer F., Nabatian G., Emami M. H., von Quadt A., Dong Y., Bernroider M.
Journal of Earth Science, 26, 5, 626-647
DOI: 10.1007/s12583-015-0584-1.

Rapid Eocene extension in the Chapedony metamorphic core complex, Central Iran: Constraints from 40Ar/39Ar dating
Kargaranbafghi F., Neubauer F., Genser J.
Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 106, 156-168
DOI: 10.1016/j.jseaes.2015.03.010.

The tectonic evolution of western Central Iran seen through detrital white mica
Kargaranbafghi F., Neubauer F., Genser J.
Tectonophysics, 651-652, 138-151
DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2015.03.019.

40Ar/39Ar ages of crystallisation and recrystallisation of rock-forming polyhalite in Alpine rocksalt deposit
Leitner C., Neubauer F., Genser J., Borojevi-Šoštari B., Rantitsch G.
Jourdan, F., Mark, D. F. & Verati, C. (eds.) Advances in 40Ar/39Ar Dating from Archaeology to Planetary Sciences. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 378, 207-224
DOI: 10.1144/SP378.5.

The origin and age of the metamorphic sole from the Rogozna Mts., Western Vardar Belt: New support for the one-ocean model for the Balkan ophiolites
Borojevic-Šoštari S., Palinkaš A.L., Neubauer F., Cvetkovic V., Bernroider M., Genser J.
Lithos, 192-195, 39-55
DOI: 10.1016/j.lithos.2014.01.011.

Polyphase exhumation in the Western Qinling Mountains, China: Rapid Early Cretaceous cooling along a lithospheric-scale tear fault and pulsed Cenozoic uplift
Heberer B., Anzenbacher T., Neubauer F., Genser J., Dong Y., Dunkl I.
Tectonophysics, 617, 31-43

40Ar/39Ar ages of crystallisation and recrystallisation of rock-forming polyhalite in Alpine rocksalt deposit
Leitner C., Neubauer F., Genser J., Borojevi-Šoštari B., Rantitsch G.
In: Jourdan, F., Mark, D. F. & Verati, C. (eds.)
Advances in 40Ar/39Ar Dating from Archaeology to Planetary Sciences.
Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 378, 207-224

Geology, alteration, age and origin of iron oxide-apatite deposits in UpperEocene quartz monzonite, Zanjan district, NW Iran
Nabatian G., Ghaderi M., Corfu F., Neubauer F., Bernroider M., Prokofiev V., Honarmand M.
Mineralium Deposita, 49, 217-234
DOI: 10.1007/s00126-013-0484-1.

An anorogenic pulse in a typical orogenic setting: Geochemical and geochronological record in the East Serbian latest Cretaceous to Paleocene alkaline rocks
Cvetkovic V., Šaric K., Prelevic D., Genser J., Neubauer F., Hoeck V., von Quadt A.
Lithos, 180-181, 181-199
DOI: 10.1016/j.lithos.2013.08.013.

Origin of deformed halite hopper crystals, pseudomorphic anhydrite cubes and polyhalite in Alpine evaporites (Austria, Germany)
Leitner C., Neubauer F., Marschallinger R., Genser J., Bernroider M.
International Journal of Earth Sciences, 102, 813-829

Cimmerian evolution of the Central Iranian basement: Evidence from metamorphic units of the Kashmar-Kerman Tectonic Zone
Masoodi M., Yassaghi A., Nogole Sadat M. A. A., Neubauer F., Bernroider M., Friedl G., Genser J., Houshmandzadeh A.
Tectonophysics, 588, 189-208
DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2012.12.012.

The Haselgebirge evaporitic mélange in central Northern Calcareous Alps (Austria): part of the Permian to Lower Triassic rift of the Meliata ocean?
Schorn A., Neubauer F., Genser J., Bernroider M.
Tectonophysics, 583, 28-48
DOI: 10.1016/j.tecto.2012.10.016.