Isotope Geochemistry-High Temperature Applications

Isotope Geochemistry-High Temperature Applications
Use of stable and radioactive isotope systematics in geochronology in investigation of the origins of igneous and metamorphic rocks and in the study of tectonics.
GEOL
545
 Hours3.0 Credit, 3.0 Lecture, 0.0 Lab
 PrerequisitesGeol 352 or equivalent.
 TaughtFall odd years
Course Outcomes

Isotope Fundamentals

1. Appreciate the structure of nuclides as the relate to radio-, radiogenic, and light stable isotopes.

2. Learn to use the chart of the nuclides.

3. Learn mechanisms and fundamental equations governing decay and ingrowth of nuclides.

Evolution of Radiogenic Nuclides in the Earth and Solar Syst

1. Understand the relationship between chemical fractionation and the evolution of isotope ratios in the Rb/Sr, Sm/Nd, and U/Pb systems. By ANALOGY, students will be prepared to understand Re/Os, Lu/Hf, K/Ca, etc should the need arise.

2. Understand the isotopic evolution of these systems in the solar system, bulk earth, rock bodies, and individual minerals.

3. Appreciate how these systems can be employed as geochronometers, and perhaps more importantly, as tracers of earth processes in the crust and mantle.

Evaluation of Multi-Component Systems

1. Learn the fundamentals of mixing, or mixing and assimilation combined with fractionation when confronted with isotope ratios of two systems, or isotope ratios and elemental abundances.

Geochronology and Thermochronology

1. Review some of the most commonly applied (and state-of-the-art) geochronometers, including: 40Ar/39Ar, U-series, 14C, 3H, and 210Pb. Emphasis changes from semester to semester based on the research goals of enrolled graduate students

Light Stable Isotopes

Understand the fundamental processes that lead to isotopic fractionation among the light stable isotopes, including:

1. Temperature-dependent equilibrium processes.

2. Kinetic fractionations.

3. Distillation.

4. Biological fractionation in plants, animals, and microorganisms.

Conduct a survey of the major applications of C, N, O, H, and S isotopes in geologic, hydrologic, and climate studies.

Seminar Days

On selected class periods throughout the semester, individual class members present, and all class members read, scientific papers that highlight the application of one or more isotope systems that have been discussed. This enables students to:

1. Learn how others have applied isotopic methods to understand how processes occur in nature.

2. Deepen their understanding of the principles discussed in class.

3. Learn to critically read, discuss, and present the findings of others.