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On Track

OnTrack: The Newsletter of the International Fission-Track Community

May 1996, Volume 6, Number 1, Issue 12

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Editor: Ruth Siddall,
Department of Geological Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


In this Issue:


On Track is a biannual newsletter of the inter-national fission-track community. It is printed in the months of May and November. The views expressed in On Track are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the fission-track community or the editor(s) of On Track.

Copyrights of by-lined articles belong to the authors and they may not be reproduced without written permission from the authors. Trademarks and patents are the sole property of the corporation(s) and/or individual(s) indicated in the article.

On Track will remain free, at least for the near future. However, to save costs we generally mail only one copy per lab so please be sure to pass On Track around your lab.

Full, half, and quarter page advertisements for this issue were purchased for US$ 200, US$ 100 and US$ 50, respectively. Contact the next editor for advertising prices in the next issue of On Track . There is no charge for "short" ads by non-commercial entities (e.g., universities). Send inquiries concerning this issue of On Track to the current editor. Send inquiries concerning the next issue of On Track to the next editor.


Dave Coyle (1990-91), La Trobe University

Trevor Dumitru (1991-92), Stanford University

Rasoul B. Sorkhabi (1992-93)Arizona State University

Dennis Arne (1993-94) Dalhousie University

Richard J. Weiland (1994-95) The University of Texas at Austin


Ruth Siddall

Department of Geological Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.

Tel.: +171-387-7050 ext. 2758 / 2418

Fax: + 171-388-7614



Danni Stockli

Dept. of Geological and Environmental Sciences

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305-2115


Tel.: (415)-725-6155

Fax: (415)-725-6155,


Editors' Notes

Welcome to the twelfth edition of On Track. This is rather a thin issue, I guess the pressures of Summer fieldwork commitments are showing. However, there is an article from Dave Coyle, introducing his new Web database for the international fission track community. As Editor of On Track, I suppose I could transcribe all the details I have on all of you and type them in... but no, It would be better if you it yourselves, and Dave has sent the instructions on how to do it.

With the forthcoming workshop in Gent fast approaching, there is a final reminder of the whens and wheres, and a note from Casey Ravenshurst for the standards Committee members.

This is my last issue as editor of On Track and consequently I would like to introduce Danny Stockli as the next editor.

Danny finished his master's thesis at ETH Zurich, Switzerland in Spring 1995 on orogen-parallel extension in the Eastern Alps entitled "The southern continuation of the Brenner Line - A Structural and Thermochronolgical Study", under the supervision of Dr. Neil Mancktelow and Dr. Diane Seward.

He has now go on to join Elizabeth Miller's and Trevor Dumitru's FT Lab at Stanford University working on a Ph.D. project, entitled "Timing of Middle Miocene extension in the northern Basin and Range province - a thermochronological study using fission-track and Ar 40/39 dating".

Danny is also involved in other collaborative research projects using apatite and zircon FT thermochronology: e.g. Mary Leech (Stanford) on the exhumation of high-pressure rocks in the southern Urals, Russia; and Gary Axen (UCLA) on extensional tectonics in northern Baja California, Mexico.

So please note the change in editorship and send all further contributions to Danny.



8th International Workshop on Fission-Track Dating

On track

As was preliminarily announced at ICOG (Berkeley) and the SSNTD conference (Dubna), the next International Workshop on Fission-Track Dating will be held in

Gent, Belgium

The official workshop dates are

26-30 August, 1996

The Gent International Workshop has set as major ambitions to define the present status of the FT methodology and data interpretation and to identify future directions.

Organization of the workshop is a collaborative effort of the Geological (Frans De Corte) of the University of Gent. For more information by contacting us at the address, phone, facsimile, or e-mail numbers listed below. 8th International FT- Dating Workshop Geological Institute, University of Gent Krijgslaan, 28, B-9000 Gent, BELGIUM. Phone: +32 (0) 9 264/ 4592 or 6627 Fax: +32 (0) 9 264 4984 E-mail:



Casey Ravenhurst

The Gent meeting is fast approaching and efforts to gather materials for distribution have stalled. At Berkeley we agreed to try to distribute either before, or at, the Gent meeting; (1) zircon and titanite (sphene) age standards, and

(2) apatite, zircon and titanite reference material

Could all fission track standards committee members, advisors and interested others please review their notes and look back at the minutes of the Berkeley committee meeting (OnTrack, v.4, no.2/issue 9)?

Committee members are:

Casey Ravenhurst

Dave Foster

Dave Coyle

Bob Walter

Takahiro Tagami

Hideki Iwano.

Advisors are:

Barry Kohn

Andy Gleadow

Tony Hurford.

Please send any appropriate material to me or make arrangements to distribute it at the meeting in Gent. I have a complete(?) list of all (about 40) of the FT labs worldwide. I will not be attending the meeting in Gent. My address for the summer (June - July) will be:

Casey Ravenhurst

Fission Track Research Laboratory

Dalhousie University

Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3J5



Fax: (902) 494-6889

Tel: (902) 494-2372

The Virtual Fission-Track Address Book

by Dave Coyle


Somewhere in Cyberspace...


What is the best way to always have an up-to-date address book for the wider fission-track community? If you want to keep tabs on every last one of use, from the lowliest Ph.D. candidate, to the highest-flying great god of science, you're faced with a monumental task.

But wait! ..... So is everyone else!

It would be fantastic if we could nominate some one person to keep all this info up to date for us. And that one person is usually the current editor of OnTrack. I know what it's like, and I can also tell you that this is one task (of many!) that the editor would prefer not to do. Let's face it, just going through and checking up on everyone is an ever-increasing task, and a thankless one at that.

Wouldn't it be nice if every Tracker could maintain their own entry in the great universal Fission-track address book? Hmmmmm.......

Enter the VFTAB!

Well, with the magic of the World-Wide-Web, that should be possible. So I thought: Right, if someone's gonna do it, it may as well be me. Why not? I've been fooling around with the WWW from the day I got goanna [footnote: No, goanna is not a communicable disease. It is in fact the Hewlett-Packard 712/60 workstation sitting on my desk]. So I downloaded the free version of WebObjects from, and set to hacking the DodgeLite example into just such a beast as is now called the Virtual Fission-Trackers Address Book.

The VFTAB is nothing more than an array of dictionaries. Really! Well, to be more explicit, it's an NSArray of NSDictionaries of NSStrings (but you really didn't want to know that). These are all objects in the programming sense, and not to belabor the point, I use them because they have the unique property of being able to write themselves to a file and read themselves again, without human intervention. That made creating the VFTAB pretty easy, because I didn't have to re-open my PERL programming book [another footnote: To make the point: this is a PERL script that I wrote to extract some age data from an ugly text file that was sent to me. Now, 2 months later, I have no idea how it works:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w

($Datafile, $FILE, $Type) = @ARGV;

# $FILE = $ARGV[1];

open (F, ">$FILE") or die "cannot open output file $FILE!\n";

# $Type = $ARGV[2];

print F "$Type data\n";

print F "Depth\tAge\tError\n";

while (<>){

($depth, $age, $error, $depth2, $age2, $error2) = /.+\s(\d+)\s(\d+[,]?\d*)\s(\d+[,]?\d*).+\s(\d+)\s(\d+[,]?\d*)\s(\d+[,]?\d*)/;

print "processing Line: $.\n";

if ($depth){

foreach ($age, $error) { s/(\d)[,](\d)/$1\.$2/g };

print F $depth,"\t", $age,"\t", $error, "\n";}

if ($depth2){

foreach ($age2, $error2) { s/(\d)[,](\d)/$1\.$2/g };

print F $depth2,"\t", $age2,"\t", $error2, "\n";}


PERL is like that....].

So how does it work? Well, that part is simple: you point your WWW browser (any browser, as long as it supports forms and tables) to:

(Important!: Do not append a trailing slash! ie: ...jects/Trackers/ will not work!)

What you will then see is something like this:

Welcome to the Fission Trackers' Virtual Address Book!

I think that the instructions are intuitive, but just to be clear:

Browsing Stored Entries:

Select the person(s) you are interested in by clicking on their names in the scrolling list. Your WWW browser should allow you to make a discontinuous selection (usually via a shift-click). Then click on the Display Selected Trackers button, and you will be rewarded with a screen like this:

The Virtual FT Address Book offers the following people that match your selection

Adding a new entry:

If you are not yet in the directory, you need to add you data. To do this, you first check that no names are sleected in the list (if one is, you can de-select it by using the "Clear this form" button), then selecting the "Edit selected Tracker" checkbox, and then pressing the "Display Selected Trackers" button. You'll then be presented with a page for adding your data, as shown here:


Adding a record

When finished, press the "submit" button. If your information was added successfully, you'll get the following alert panel:

Trackers Notice:

Otherwise, you'll get an error notification, such as this one:

Trackers Notice:

Important things to note:

- your password is not transmitted in an encrypted format, nor is it stored securely. So do not use a password that is in any way meaningful, such as the password for your regular UNIX account. I only added the password feature to prevent malicious tampering (so that, eg., someone doesn't change your personal URL to ). Also, the password should be at least six characters long.

- The first three fields (name, affiliation and email address) must have information in them.

- if you get an error, you will be told and can start again...


Editing an entry:

To edit your personal entry, select your name on the main page, click the "Edit" checkbox, and then proceed as before. You'll get the same page as you did for adding a record [yet another footnote: Indeed, it is the very same page: the string "Adding" or "Editing" is set at runtime.]. Supply your password, change any fields that need changing, and then submit the form. that's all there is to it.


Summing up:

I think that the VFTAB is a great thing, but its usefulness depends not upon me, but upon you. If few Trackers choose to enter their coordinates, then the industrious ones who already did will have wasted their time. Don't disappoint them: they obviously want keep in touch with you. Also, if the service is unavailable at some time, or you encounter difficulties, please let me know rather than just say "Aw, this doesn't work". Errors do crop up, and the machine does need to be rebooted occasionally (taking it offline). Only if errors are reported am I able to find and fix them....


And a final note: I mentioned that I used a product called WebObjects to create the VFTAB. I don't want you to think that it only runs on my Hewlett-Packard workstations, though. The WebObjects Framework (and the free version of WebScript) does in fact run not only on HP-PA RISC, Intel x86, m68k & Sparc CPUs (using NeXT's Mach OS), but also on Sparc & PowerPC CPUs (using Solaris) and Intel CPUs using Windows 95/NT. So fetch it and take it for a test drive yourself.

Short Tracks: News

11th Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop

Rasoul Sorkhabi and colleagues (Allison Macfarlane and Jay Quade) organized the 11th Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshop, in Flagstaff (Arizona) from 28 April-2 May 1996. The Himalaya-Karakoram-Tibet Workshops are international meetings held annually since 1985. This was the first time that a H-K-T Workshop was held in North America. 115 people from 12 countries attended the meeting; it was supported by a grant from US National Science Foundation. Selected, referred papers resulting from the meeting will be edited by the organizers and published as Geological Society of America (GSA) Special Paper.

Fission Tracks on the Web

Autoscan have a new homepage on the Web, their URL is

EU Fellowship

Raymond Jonckheere has joined the Gunther Wagner's lab in Heidelberg for 2 years on an EU fellowship

Recent Fission-Track Papers

Arne, D.C., Thermal setting of the Cadjebut Zn-Pb deposit, Western Australia. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, in press.

Balestrieri, M. L., Abbate, E. and Bigazzi, G., 1996, Insights on the thermal evolution of the Ligurian Apennines (Italy) through fission track analysis., The Journal of the Geological Society of London, 153, 419-426.

Chen, Y., Zentilli, M. A., Clark, A. H., Farrar, E. Grist, A. M. and Willis-Richards, J., 1996, Geochronological evidence for post-Variscan cooling and uplift of the Carnmenellis granite, SW England. The Journal of the Geological Society of London, 153, 191-196.

Crowhurst, P.V., K.C. Hill, D.A. Foster, and A.P. Bennett, 1996, Thermochronological and geochemical constraints on the tectonic evolution of northern Papua New Guinea, in Hall, R. and D. Blundell, eds., Tectonic Evolution of Southeast Asia, Geological Society Special Publication, 106, p. 525-537.

Eby, G. N., Roden-Tice, M., Krueger, H. L., Ewing, W., Faxon, E. H., and Woolley, A. R., 1995, Geochronology and cooling history of the northern part of the Chilwa Alkaline Province, Malawi. Journal of African Earth Sciences., 20 (3-4), 275 - 288.

Foster, D.A., 1995, Limits on the tectonic significance of rapid cooling events in extensional settings: Insights from the Bitterroot metamorphic core complex, Idaho-Montana: Comment, Geology, v. 23, p. 1051-1052.

Foster, D.A., and A. J. W. Gleadow, 1996, Structural framework and denudation history of the flanks of the Kenya and Anza Rifts, East Africa, Tectonics, v. 15, p. 258-271.

Howard, K. A., and Foster, D. A., 1996, Thermal and unroofing history of a thick, tilted Basin-and-Range crustal section in the Tortilla Mountains, Arizona, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 101, p. 511-522.

Howard, K.A., and D.A. Foster, 1996, Thermal and unroofing history of a thick, tilted Basin and Range crustal section Tortilla Mountains, Arizona, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 101, p. 511-522.

Issler, D. R., 1996, Optimizing time step size for apatite fission track annealing models, Computers & Geosciences, v. 22, p. 67-74.

Ito, H. and Tanaka, K., 1995. Insights on the thermal history of the Valles caldera, New Mexico: evidence from zircon fission-track analysis. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 67: 153-160.

O'Sullivan, P.B., B.P. Kohn, D.A. Foster, and A.J.W. Gleadow, 1995, Fission track data from the Bathurst batholith: evidence for rapid middle Cretaceous uplift and erosion within the eastern highlands of Australia, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 42, p. 597-607.

Petford, N., and Miller, J. A., 1995, Some aspects of the application of image analysis to the study of fission tracks, Mineralogical Magazine, v. 59, p. 197-201.

Ritter, U., Arne, D., Mørk, A, Duddy, I. and Johansen, H., Temperature and uplift history of Bjørnøya (Bear Island), Barents Sea, Petroleum Geoscience, in press.

Storey, B. C., Brown, R. W., Carter, A., Doubleday, P. A., Hurford, A. J., Macdonald, D. I. M. and Nell, P. A. R., 1996, Fission track evidence for the thermotectonic evolution of a Mesozoic-Cenozoic Fore-arc, Antarctica., The Journal of the Geological Society of London, 153, 65-82.

Tagami, T., and T. A. Dumitru, 1996, Provenance and thermal history of the Franciscan accretionary complex: Constraints from zircon fission track thermochronology, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 101, in press (May 1996 issue).

Call for Contributions to the

November 1996 On Track issue 13

Dear Fellow Fission Tracker:

The next issue will be printed in November, 1996 and we are looking for contributions. We welcome contributions of virtually any kind, including descriptions of new lab techniques, reviews of useful products, news and gossip, meeting announcements, job openings, cartoons, and descriptions of what you are doing in your research.

On Track always includes a list of Recent Fission-Track Papers. If you know of a paper that was published recently, or that is in press and should be published in the near future, please send it in. The Short Tracks: News section allows all of us to keep up with all th emoving fission trackers. On Track also includes an International Fission-Track Directory in each May issue. If you are about to move, have moved, or know of someone who has moved, please inform me so the directory can be updated.

If you would like to contribute, send the final text and figures before the DEADLINE, 15 October, 1996. If it is a lengthy article, let me know the title and length as soon as possible. Please send a paper copy of your contribution and a 3.5 inch Macintosh&tm; compatible disc with the text saved in Microsoft Word. If you can't send a Macintosh compatible disc, send a 3.5 inch IBM compatible disc in Word, or WordPerfect. Contributions can also be sent electronically as an e-mail attachment. Send all contributions for the next issue of On Track to:

Danny Stockli, On Track Editor

Dept. of Geological and Environmental Sciences

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305-2115


Tel.: (415)-725-6155

Fax: (415)-725-6155,


 May 1996



The comprehensive directory is published once a year (i.e. every other issue). This issue contains errata and ammendments to the last published directory (in issue 11) i.e. I forgot to put everyone in my own research group in! If your details are incorrect or you spot a colleague whoses details are incorrect, please let the editor know.

This directory is published solely for the information of fission-track researchers. It is neither a comprehensive directory including all fission-track researchers nor an official document endorsing the scientific stand of individuals by the fission-track community.

Bal, K. D.

Fission Track Laboratory

Special Research Group

ERD Building, 3RD Floor

KDM Institute of Petroleum Exploration

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

Dehradun, INDIA.

Carter, Andrew

Fission Track Research Group

Department of Geological Sciences

University College London

Gower Street

London WC1E 6BT

Phone: (0)171-380-7777 ext 2418

Fax: (0)171-813-2802


Cederbom, Charlotte

Institution of Geology,

Earth Sciences Centre

S-413 81 Gothenburg


Phone: +46 31 773 28 00

Fax: -28 49


Gunnell, Yanni,

Laboratoire de Geographie Physique,

URA, 1562, CNRS,

Univesité Blaise-Pascal,

29 Bvd. Gergovia, 63037,

Clermont Ferrand, CEDEX 1


Ito, Hisatoshi

Central Research Institute of

Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI)

1646 Abiko, Abiko city,

Chiba, 270-11, JAPAN

Phone: 0471-82-1181 ex) 8525

Fax: 0471-83-3182,

International 81-471-83-3182


Johnson, Kit

Fission Track Research Group

Department of Geological Sciences

University College London

Gower Street

London WC1E 6BT

Phone: (0)171-380-7777 ext 2418

Fax: (0)171-813-2802


Krochmal, Michael

Autoscan Systems Pty. ltd.

PO Box 112, Ormond,


Wk. Phone.: + 61 39 596 8065

Hm. Phone.: + 61 39 578 9124

Wk. FAX : + 61 39 596 8369



Laslett, Geoff M.

CSIRO Division of Mathematics & Statistics

Private Bag 10, Clayton South MDC,

Clayton, VICTORIA 3169, Australia.

Phone: +61 3 9545 8018

Fax: +61 3 9545 8080


Lewis, Cherry L. E.

Robertson Research International Ltd.

Llanrhos, Llandudno, Gwynedd,

North Wales, LL30 1SA

United Kingdom

Naeser, Chuck & Nancy

U.S. Geological Survey

926a National Center

Reston, VA 22092, USA

Phone: 703 648-6964 (Chuck)

703 648-5328 (Nancy)

Fax: 703 648-6953 (Chuck and Nancy)


Ohira, Hiroto

Department of Geoscience,

Shimane University,

Matsue 690, Japan.

TEL 81-852-32-6465

FAX 81-852-32-6469


Prashad, Rajinder

(Ph.D., Kurukshetra University, India)

Fission Track Laboratory

Special Research Group

ERD Building, 3RD Floor

KDM Institute of Petroleum Exploration

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

Dehradun, INDIA.

Shane, Phil

Geology/School of Environmental

and Marine Sciences

University of Auckland

Tamaki Campus

Private Bag 92019

Auckland, New Zealand

Phone 64-9-373 7599 ext. 6821

Fax 64-9-373 7042

Stockli, Danny

Dept. Geological & Environmental Sciences

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305-2115


Wk. Phone (415) 723 1010

Hm. Phone (415) 428 1589


Upton, David

Fission Track Research Group

Department of Geological Sciences

University College London

Gower Street

London WC1E 6BT

Phone: (0)171-380-7777 ext 2418

Fax: (0)171-813-2802

FT STAge Systems

Automated microscope stage systems greatly increase operator productivity by automating tedious aspects of microscope work. Since their introduction, our systems have been adopted by more fission track labs than any other system.

Outstanding Hardware:

Our stage systems are based on a highly-reliable, high-precision Kinetek&tm; computer-automated microscope scanning stage. Several hundred Kinetek stages are currently in operation, mainly in the microelectronics industry. Compatible with almost any brand of microscope. Use of this popular, general purpose stage significantly reduces the system cost. System also includes a high-quality Calcomp&tm; 12x12" digitizing tablet. Assembly to full operational status generally requires only a few days.

Outstanding Software:

Software is a complete, highly sophisticated Apple Macintosh program developed with careful attention to all aspects of microscope work. Fully integrates track counting, track length measurement, slide scanning, and file management functions. Moves precisely from grain to mica print in 3 seconds. Very user friendly. Fully functional even with the lowest cost Macintosh models and with the MS-Windows and MS-DOS compatible Macintoshes.

Innovative, Highly-Intuitive Stage Control System:

Stage is driven primarily with the digitizing tablet cursor rather than a joystick. For example, to center an object, just superimpose the cursor on it, push a button, and the stage automatically centers the object. This avoids tedious manual centering via the joystick. Most software commands are driven from the cursor buttons, which are easily distinguished by feel, so there is no need to look away from the eyepieces to the computer screen or keyboard.

Fission Track Laboratories Using the System:

*Stanford University, Stanford, California, installed in 1991

*University of California, Santa Barbara, California, installed in 1992

*ARCO Exploration and Production Technology, Plano, Texas, installed in 1992

*Universität Bremen, Bremen, Germany, installed in 1993

*E.T.H., Zürich, Switzerland, installed in 1993 using a preexisting stage

*Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, installed in 1993

*University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, installed in 1993

*University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, installed in 1993

*Max-Planck-Institut, Heidelberg, Germany, installed in 1993 using a preexisting stage

*Union College, Schenectady, New York, installed in 1994

*Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, installed in 1994 using a new Zeiss stage

*La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, installed in 1994 using two new Zeiss stages

*University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, installed in 1995

*Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany, installed in 1995

*Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela, installed in 1995

*Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, installed in 1995

*Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry, Chiba, Japan, installed in 1995

*Universität Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria, installed in 1996

*University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, installed in 1996

Detailed Information:

The system is described in a paper in Nuclear Tracks and Radiation Measurements, vol. 21, p. 575-580, Oct. 1993 (proceedings issue for the 1992 Workshop on Fission Track Thermochronology held in Philadelphia).

For Further Information Contact: Dr. Trevor Dumitru, 4100 Campana Drive, Palo Alto, California 94306, U.S.A., Telephone (auto-switching voice and fax line): 1-415-725-1328 before June 15, 1996, 1-415-725-6155 afterwards


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