Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Labs: 2 sessions / week, 2.5 hours / session


Students need permission from instructors to enroll.


This course focuses on analytical facilities that are used to determine elemental and isotopic abundances in soils, rocks, minerals, and fluids. Emphasis is on isotopic ratios of Sr, Nd, and Pb, which can be used for geochronology, and abundances of trace elements such as Rb, Sr, Cu, Cd, Hg, rare-earths, Pb, Th, and U. Analytical techniques include mass spectrometry, emission spectrometry, atomic absorption, neutron activation, and electron microprobe. A major lab project utilizes these techniques to address specific environmental and geologic problems.

Reference Books

  1. Gill, Robin, ed. Modern Analytical Geochemistry (Longman Geochemistry Series). Addison Wesley Longman, 1997. ISBN: 9780582099449.
  2. Potts, P. J. A Handbook of Silicate Rock Analysis. Chapman and Hall, 1987. ISBN: 9780412008818.


1 Basic geochemistry & glaciology background
2 Specimen characterization with the Electron Microprobe Part 1
3 Specimen characterization with the Electron Microprobe Part 2
4 Toxic pollutants
5 Sr Isotope dating
6 U/Th/Pb dating
7 Anthropogenic Geochemistry
8 Inductively Coupled Plasma: Emission and Mass Spectrometry
9 Interferences in Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry


30% on homework assignments and 70% on final report.