The spring semester 2021 will certainly take place online until Easter. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence. Please note the information provided by the lecturers.

651-4226-00L  Geochemical and Isotopic Tracers of the Earth System

SemesterSpring Semester 2016
LecturersD. Vance
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThis unit discusses the geochemical approaches used to understand the dynamics of the surface Earth, now and in the past. Emphasis is placed on gaining a basic understanding of how the tracers work, e.g. on the modern Earth. Case studies will be used to appreciate what we can learn about the past, in particular the major changes that the surface Earth system has undergone over Earth history.
ObjectiveThis unit is designed with the particular aim of providing a firm grounding in the geochemical methods used to observe and trace the Earth System, now and in the past. The approach in lectures will be the pursuit of a sound understanding of the controlling physical and chemical factors of each method, to encourage students to think about their application and interpretation from first principles. Exercises will provide an opportunity to analyse real data, to understand their meaning, and to quantitatively interpret them in the context of simple box models.
ContentMost of the important geochemical and isotopic methods used to study the surface Earth will be covered, including: tracing the hydrological cycle using stable isotopes , geochemical and isotopic tracing of the carbon cycle, the chemistry of aerosols in the atmosphere, using boron isotopes to understand the oceanic carbonate system, using radiogenic isotopes as surface Earth tracers (including U-series, Sr-Nd-Pb etc), the silica cycle at the surface Earth (including silicon isotopes), trace metals and their isotopes (focusing on surface Earth redox).

Real data will be woven through all of these but case studies using geochemical data will come from e.g. the
Quaternary (ice cores, ocean sediments and speleothems), the history of Cenozoic CO2 , Mesozoic OAEs, the early oxygenation of the Earth.
Lecture notesSlides of lectures will be available.