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 environmental 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 geochemistry of the hydrosphere, with the processes of chemical weathering of rocks, such as hydration, hydrolysis, oxidation, and their interaction with the environment and the water and air systems; also with the chemistry of surface water and groundwater, as their salinity, chlorinity, residence time, paying particular attention to groundwater and surface water; the environmental geochemistry with the ecological implications of geochemical cycles and the human impact on these cycles, pollution of natural waters and soil; the isotope geochemistry, with the study of different ratios that isotopes can have in the composition of dissolved salts, in the water, in the organic matter; the environmental radioactivity;
□ 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 environmental sciences;
□ in laboratory lessons to introduce the student with the practical problems associated with obtaining analytical measurements
The water hydrological cycle
Physical and chemical properties of water
The natural distribution of water
Chemical composition of water
Surface and ground waters
Elements acquisition during water-rock interaction
Water chemical classification
The decay law
The natural radioactivity
The radiocarbon method
STABLE ISOTOPE GEOCHEMISTRY
Water isotope cycle
Natural processes of isotope fractionation
Factors affecting the isotope composition of water
Stable isotope applications in palaeo-climatology
Principles of Isotope Geology-Faure G. ; John Wiley and Sons
Environmental Isotopes in Hydrology -Clark I. e Fritz P.; Lewis Publisher
Geochimica e Ambiente-Dongarrà G. e Varrica D.; EdiSES
Acque, minerali ed ambiente-Venturelli G.; Pitagora
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 15 points are acquired, the oral examination is divided into 3 questions from 4 to 6 points depending on the difficulty, the written exercise is worth 2 points. Praise is acquired with a score greater than or equal to 33.