Geol 638: Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Geochronology




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GEOL 638:

Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Geochronology


Course Syllabus: Fall 2006


Meeting: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:15 – 10:30, Math/Geo 126


Instructor: Prof. Mark Schmitz — Math/Geo 205A; ext. 5907; markschmitz@boisestate.edu


Office Hours: Monday, 9:00 - 12:00 or by appointment


Course Outcomes:

  1. Be able to describe the fundamental concepts of isotope geochemistry, and their application to understanding the origin, composition, and evolution of the Earth, and how the Earth system responds to internal and external forces.

  2. Be able to apply physics, chemistry, and mathematics to understand geological processes.

  3. Be able to apply geochemical knowledge and critical thinking skills to address a range of problems in isotope geology and geochemistry.

  4. Utilize computers and software to solve problems in the fields of isotope geology and geochemistry.

  5. Be familiar with sources of scientific information and be able to utilize scientific literature in isotope geology and geochemistry.


This course is designed to be a survey of the field of radiogenic isotope geochemistry and its application to the study of Earth materials and processes. The focus will be on the major long-lived radioactive decay schemes (e.g. K-Ar, Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, Lu-Hf, Re-Os, U-Th-Pb), and depending upon interest, noble gas and stable isotope geochemistry and their systematics and application. We will investigate topics which utilize stable and radiogenic isotope systems as both tracers and/or chronometers, including: the formation and chemical differentiation of the Earth; igneous petrology and the chemical geodynamics of the solid Earth; metamorphism and orogenesis; the isotope composition of continental waters and oceans; isotopic constraints on the stratigraphic record including geochronology and chemostratigraphy; geochemical cycling.


Course Assessment: problem sets & projects (5) 50%

mid-term exam (tentatively Oct. 12) 20%

final exam (Dec. 14, 8-10am) 20%

class discussion & participation 10%


Problem Sets: due for full credit one week after assignment

accepted with 10% penalty only up to two weeks after assignment

GEOL 638:

Radiogenic Isotope Geochemistry and Geochronology


Texts: (required text available for purchase at BSU Bookstore; supplementary texts available on reserve in Albertson Library)

Required


Dickin, A.P., Radiogenic Isotope Geology, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Supplementary


Faure, G., Principles of Isotope Geology, 2nd ed., Wiley, 1986.

Heaman, L.M., and Ludden, J.L. (eds.) Applications of radiogenic isotope systems to problems in geology; Short course handbook v. 19, Mineralogical Association of Canada, 1991.

Valley, J.W., and Cole, D.R. (eds.) Stable Isotope Geochemistry, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, v. 43, Mineralogical Society of America, 2001.

Hanchar, J.M., Hoskin, P.W.O. (eds.) Zircon, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, v. 53, Mineralogical Society of America, 2003.

McDougall, I., Harrison, T.M., Geochronology and thermochronology by the 40Ar/39Ar method, Oxford University Press, 1999.


Student Code of Conduct:

The following information regarding academic dishonesty is from Article 3, Section 1, of Boise State University’s Student Code of Conduct:

"Cheating or plagiarism in any form is unacceptable. The University functions to promote the cognitive and psychosocial development of all students. Therefore, all work submitted by a student must represent her/his own ideas, concepts, and current understanding. Academic dishonesty also includes submitting substantial portions of the same academic course work to more than one course for credit without prior permission of the instructor(s)."

For further information regarding definitions and procedures for this and other sections in the Code of Conduct, please view the following URL:

http://www2.boisestate.edu/studentconduct

Any student caught cheating/plagiarizing will receive a failing grade (F) for the course and an Academic Dishonesty Report Form will be submitted to the Student Conduct Officer.

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