Journal Highlights

New software tool for comparing age distributions of detrital zircons

Editor’s Highlight—


This paper describes, explores, and documents code and software to estimate the relative proportions of candidate source detrital zircon populations in a mixture of those populations. The authors outline a Monte Carlo algorithm for generating random candidate mixing proportions, calculating synthetic mixtures in these proportions, comparing the synthetic mixtures to the observed population, and identifying the best fits as the most likely mixing scenarios. They test their approach on synthetic data with positive results and then explore some detrital zircon data from a modern river system. They have incorporated this algorithm into a MATLAB script and an executable application, DZmix, which comes with its own documentation. This is the first unmixing model available for off-the-shelf use by other researchers, and many other studies will benefit from DZstats, this publicly available, well-documented software package for comparing, analyzing, and visualizing detrital zircon age distributions.