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Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche - Sede Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche

Insegnamento: Advanced isotope geochemistry

Geoscienze, georischi e georisorse (D.M.270/04) (Offerta formativa 2023)

Obiettivi formativi

The goal of this course is to give advanced knowledge of isotopic systems and their application to research questions in the earth, planetary and environmental sciences. This course will provide a thorough introduction to methods and applications and will advance the understanding of isotope systems by comprehensive discussions of hot research topics. A secondary, but important, aim is to motivate students to develop a scientific interdisciplinary approach for addressing geological and environmental issues.


B2 English level

Programma del corso

The Big Bang and Galaxy Formation
The Raw Material: Synthesis of Elements in Stars
The Formation of Planets and Moons from a Solar Nebula
Quantifying the Timescale with Radionuclides
Segregation into Core, Mantle, Crust, Ocean, and Atmosphere
Linking Solid Earth, Liquid Ocean, and Gaseous Atmosphere
Causes and Consequences of Naturally Induced Climate Change

Metodi didattici

Lectures and laboratory exercises. Due to the evolving COVID19 emergency, lectures and laboratory experiences may be carried out remotely.

Testi di riferimento

Scientific papers and notes from the teacher

Verifica dell'apprendimento

Written exam with open questions to evaluate if a sufficient knowledge of the subject has been achieved (70%). More in general the exam will be used to evaluate communication level, indipendent judgment and learning abilities (30%).

In details the exam consist of about 20 questions related to the subject. Each question has a variable score. The sum of the single scores is equal to 30.5 which is equivalent to 30/30 cum laude. Wrong questions are equal to 0 points. Partial answers will receive partial score. The final score depends on the points scored by the student in answering the questions.
The student will receive feedback on the exam and in the case of fail a full assessment to better prepare the exam for the next time.
The exam can be viewed a few days later. Results will be discussed, highlighting mistakes.The teacher will advise the student on specific subjects that have to be studied.
Due to the evolving COVID19 emergency, exams may be carried out in presence or remotely.

Risultati attesi

At the end of the course students are expected to:
Understand the structure of atomic nuclei and how this affects nuclear stability.
Understand and be able to use the various techniques of radiometric dating to determine the age of geologic materials and events.
Be able to explain:
the processes by which the chemical elements have been synthesized over the history of the cosmos.
the evidence for the existence of extinct radioisotopes in the early solar system and the Earth and how these provide a detailed chronology of early solar system history.
how radiogenic isotopes are used as tracers of geologic and oceanographic processes, including evolution of the continental crust and mantle, and ocean circulation.
how slight differences in mass lead to slight differences in chemical behavior of isotopes of an element.
how isotopes of O and C are used to understand the C cycle and to reconstruct the Earth’s climate history, including recent anthropogenic changes.