Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
  • Open Access

Engineering cyber infrastructure for U-Pb geochronology: Tripoli and U-Pb_Redux



In the past decade, major advancements in precision and accuracy of U-Pb geochronology, which stem from improved sample pretreatment and refined measurement techniques, have revealed previously unresolvable discrepancies among analyses from different laboratories. One solution to evaluating and resolving many of these discrepancies is the adoption of a common software platform that standardizes data-processing protocols, enabling robust interlaboratory comparisons. We present the results of a collaboration to develop cyber infrastructure for high-precision U-Pb geochronology based on analyzing accessory minerals by isotope dilution-thermal ionization mass spectrometry. This cyber infrastructure implements an architecture specifying the workflows of data acquisition, statistical filtering, analysis and interpretation, publication, community-based archiving, and the compilation and comparison of data from different laboratories. The backbone of the cyber infrastructure consists of two open-source software programs: Tripoli and U-Pb_Redux. Tripoli interfaces with commercially available mass spectrometers using standardized protocols, statistical filtering, and interactive visualizations to aid the analyst in preparing raw data for analysis in U-Pb_Redux. U-Pb_Redux implements the architecture by orchestrating the analyst's workflow with interactive visualizations and provides data reduction and uncertainty propagation that support data interpretations. Finally, U-Pb_Redux enables production of publication-ready graphics and data tables, the archiving of results, and the comparative compilation of archived results to support cooperative science.