Nov 30, 2023
GEOL 5170 - Isotope Geology
Radiogenic and stable nuclides are a critical tool for dating materials, understanding planetary differentiation, and tracing provenance and process in all spheres of the earth. This course examines the theory and application of isotope geochemistry to a broad range of geologic topics. Radiometric isotope techniques (dating and geochemical tracing) are introduced through a discussion of atoms, isotopes, and radioactive decay systematics, followed by systematic discussion of a number of specific systems (e.g., uranium-lead). Applications of stable isotopes to investigating volcanism, and meteoric-hydrothermal systems are discussed. Concepts of mass-balance, mixing theory, and open and closed systems are introduced.
Credit Hours: 4
Repeat/Retake Information: May not be retaken.
Lecture/Lab Hours: 3.0 lecture
Grades: Eligible Grades: A-F,WP,WF,WN,FN,AU,I
- Be familiar with the theory behind radiometric dating.
- Know the evidence for how, and when the solid Earth differentiated into chemically distinct core, mantle, and lithospheric components following planetary accretion.
- Know the origin of the vast number of nuclides that occur in nature, and the mechanisms and rates of radioactive decay in various isotopic systems.
- Learn how isotope ratios are measured using modern mass spectrometry techniques.
- Understand how cosmogenic radionuclides form, and how they are used to date/trace geologic systems open to interactions with the atmosphere (groundwater, erosion, anthropologic activity).
- Understand how stable isotopes are used to identify subsolidus interactions between rocks and natural waters.
- Understand the factors than can modify different isotope ratios, the strengths and limitations if different isotope systems, and the applications of isotope geochemistry to studying the origin of rocks on Earth.
- Understand the origin and sources of magmas on Earth.
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