We present newly acquired trace element compositions for more than 300 zircon grains in 36 gabbros formed at the slow-spreading Mid-Atlantic and Southwest Indian Ridges. Rare earth element patterns for zircon from modern oceanic crust completely overlap with those for zircon crystallized in continental granitoids. However, plots of U versus Yb and U[Yb versus Hf or Y discriminate zircons crystallized in oceanic crust from continental zircon, and provide a relatively robust method for distinguishing zircons from these environments. Approximately 80% of the modern ocean crust zircons are distinct from the field defined by more than 1700 continental zircons from Archean and Phanerozoic samples. These discrimination diagrams provide a new tool for fingerprinting ocean crust zircons derived from reservoirs like that of modern mid-ocean ridge basalt (MORB) in both modern and ancient detrital zircon populations. Hadean detrital zircons previously reported from the Acasta Gneiss, Canada, and the Narryer Gneiss terrane, Western Australia, plot in the continental granitoid field, supporting hypotheses that at least some Hadean detrital zircons crystallized in continental crust forming magmas and not from a reservoir like modern MORB.
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