Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims to provide students with information on recent developments in geochemistry and in particular the isotopic understood as a cognitive tool in the interdisciplinary field of Earth Sciences as well as provide the necessary information for the application of geochemical and isotopic techniques in research and management of natural resources.
At the end of the course the student will have acquired the basic elements of knowledge and will be able to recognize the conditions under which the application of isotopic-geochemical techniques can be effective and make judgments about the potential and the limits of application of the methodology in a given natural context related to earth sciences.
Course contents summary
The training is divided into:
basic lessons aiming at the establishment of a simplified theoretical framework of reference on topics such as the isotope geochemistry, with the study of the different ratios that isotopes can have in the composition of rocks dissolved salts, in the organic matter; applications to high and low temperature systems, applications in paleoclimatology with the study of foraminifera and the bones of vertebrates including human bones, with the study of fossil water including ice cores.
□ in applicative lessons focused on the presentation and discussion of case studies in which the isotopic-geochemical methods have been successfully applied to problems related to Earth Sciences;
□ in laboratory lessons to introduce the student with the practical problems associated with obtaining analytical measurements
Introduction to stable isotopes
Stable isotope theory: equilibrium and kinetic fractionation
Isotope fractionation in the lithosphere
Stable isotope application I: high temperature
High temperature application II: oxygen isotopes as an indicator of assimilation
High temperature application III: subduction studies
Hydrothermal activity, metamorphism and ore deposits
Stable isotopes in palaeontology and archaeology
Stable isotopes in palaeoclimatology
The short and long carbon cycle, isotopes and climate
Principles of Isotope Geology-Faure G. ; John Wiley and Sons
Geochimica e Ambiente-Dongarrà G. e Varrica D.; EdiSES
Powerpoint presentation of the lessons
The course will be divided into: basic lessons aiming at the establishment of a simplified theoretical framework and in applicative lessons focused on the presentation and discussion of case studies. In addition, the course will be integrated with a number of hours of support activity, mainly in the laboratory, on the isotope measurement techniques, on the main problems related to the calibration of the isotope measurements and the calculation of the elemental percentage and the isotope values versus an international standard. Some of the exercises will be individual and practices in order to enable the student to carry out independently a particular analytical procedure outlined in theoretical form during the lessons.
Assessment methods and criteria
The ability to use independently, to integrate and to disclose their knowledge, is assessed towards the end of the course, through seminars held by individual students to their classmates with final debate. The workshop is prepared by the student through the use of bibliographic material provided by the teacher and presented by a computer program. The language used should be that of a scientific communication also aimed at non-specialist counterparts.
The acquisition of knowledge is assessed through an oral examination supplemented by the resolution of an analytical problem in writing.
With the seminar maximum 15 points will be acquired, the oral examination will be divided into 3 questions from 4 to 6 points depending on the difficulty, the written exercise will weigh 2 points. Praise will be acquired with a score greater than or equal to 33.