Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) uranium-thorium-lead (U-Th-Pb) dating is an increasingly popular approach for determining the age of mineral grains and the timing of geological events. The spatial resolution offered by this technique allows detailed investigations of complex igneous and metamorphic processes, and the speed of data capture allows vast amounts of information to be gathered rapidly. Laser ablation U-Th-Pb dating is therefore becoming an increasingly influential technique to the geochronology community, providing cost-effective and ready access to age data for laboratories and end users worldwide.
However, complications in acquiring, processing, and interpreting data can lead to inaccurate age information entering the literature. With the numbers of practitioners expanding rapidly, the need to standardize approaches and resolve difficulties (particularly involving the subjectivity in processing laser ablation U-Th-Pb data) is becoming important.