Isotope Geochemistry


Course Objective

Understanding the basic principles of isotope geochemistry and
to apply the fundamental principles to earth scientific processes. The
course treats both radiogenic and stable isotope techniques. An
important concept is to understand by working through exercises.

Course Content

Radiogenic and stable isotopes are used widely in the Earth Sciences to
determine the ages of the rocks and minerals, meteorites and
archaeological objects, and as traces to understand geological and
environmental processes. Isotope methods determine the age of the earth,
help to reconstruct the climate of the past, explain the formation of
the chemical elements in the Universe. Isotope geochemistry provides
unique information of the evolution of our Planet Earth since 4.5 Ga ago
and variations in the isotopic ratios are the clues to our understanding
of the origin and history of gasses, liquids and solid material on Earth
and the physical-chemical-biological processes that have been and still
are active in our dynamic System Earth.
The course treats the following:
• Fundamentals of Radioactive and Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry
• Geochronology: long-lived radioactive decay systems
• Radiogenic Isotopic tracers: evolution of Mantle, Crust and
• Geochronology: short-lived radioactive decay systems
• Stable isotopes: isotope fractionation and applications to

Teaching Methods

Lectures and classes for excercises, self-study. Total
hours, including classes for excercises, is 51.75

Method of Assessment

Exam and retake consists of two parts. Part 1(Davies)
determines 2/3 and part 2 (Beets) 1/3 of the final mark.

Course work is expected to be completed as preparation for the exam but
no mark is given.

Entry Requirements

Geochemistry for Earth Scientists; Introduction
Inorganic Chemistry


Syllabus Isotope Geochemistry (W. M. White) and additional
teaching material on Canvas; exercises.

Target Audience

2nd year students Minor Solid Earth (Geology and Geochemistry).

General Information

Course Code AB_1104
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator prof. dr. G.R. Davies
Examiner prof. dr. G.R. Davies
Teaching Staff prof. dr. G.R. Davies
dr. C.J. Beets

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar