In this paper we describe a technique for the determination of 25 elements in natural zirconolite using energy-dispersive analytical electron microscopy (AEM). The method presented here allows one to quantitatively investigate the chemistry of submicron-scale zones in complex oxide minerals. The effects of electron channeling, thickness variability and variations in detector resolution were minimized by using a controlled set of operating procedures and instrument parameters. To provide a high level of accurayy, kATI-factors were determined from standards for most of the 25 elements of interest, including all of the major elements. Each analytical spectrum is reduced to a set of raw peak counts (and errors) using a digital top-hat filter to suppress background followed by multiple least squares fitting of reference spectra. Counting times of 12–15 min per analysis were required to provide suitable counting statistics. Results are presented for zirconolite samples from the contact metamorphic aureole of the Bergell granodiorite intrusion, Switzerland-Italy. A comparison of 43 AEM analyses with 15 analyses obtained by wavelength-dispersive electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) shows that there is excellent agreement between the two data sets in the amounts of individual elements present, chemical trends and overall stoichiometry. An assessment of the combined data set shows that the major substitution mechanisms in the Bergell samples are coupled substitutions involving the M5,6- and M8-sites of the zirconolite structure: M8Ca2+ + M5,6Ti4+→M8REE3+ + M5,6(Al,Fe)3+ and M8Ca2+ + M5,6Ti4+→M8(Th,U)4+ + M5,6 (Mg,Fe)2+.
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