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Module GL4427: Isotope Geochemistry and Geochronology  

  Module GL4427
Co-ordinator: Dr. Quentin Crowley
Course Type: Optional
Assessment: 70% Theory examination, 30% Continuous Assessment.
ECTS: 5 Credits
Prerequisites: GL2205, GL2206, GL3329

Contact hours & timing:

Michaelmas Term
20 lecture hours and 15 practical hours

Module Learning Aims

This module aims to provide an advanced insight into the behaviour of selected isotopes and their application to geological systems. This will be accomplished with an emphasis on student-lead paper reviews, hands-on experience of real data-sets, and discussion of the recent literature. The module will cover the theory and application of isotopes as tracers of geological processes, as well as the basis of geochronology and thermochronology.

Module Content

This module provides the theory and application of how to use isotope geochemistry of the rock record to elucidate evolution of geological processes. It will also demonstrate how radiogenic isotopes may be used for dating purposes to either constrain thermal evolution or provide an absolute temporal framework to study secular evolution of the Earth.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Discuss how isotopes may be used to gain a better understanding of evolution of the Earth’s crust, mantle and oceans.
  • Construct isochrons for age calculations.
  • Understand the principles and application of U-Pb zircon geochronology and low temperature themochronology.

Recommended Reading List

  • An Introduction to the Rock Forming Minerals. Deer, Howie & Zussman.
  • Using Geochemical Data. Rollinson.
  • Isotope Geology. Allègre.
  • Radiogenic Isotope Geology. Dickin.
  • Isotopes: Principles and Applications. Faure & Mensing.