2nd Year

Advanced isotope geochemistry

Description including Unit Aims

The course will deal with applications of radiogenic and stable isotope geochemistry in conjunction with major and trace-element geochemistry to a great variety of volcanological and petrological issues. The main applications will include:

  • radiometric dating of igneous and metamorphic rocks;
  • isotopic evolution of the Earth, origin and distribution of chemical heterogeneities in the mantle and evolution of continental crust;
  • pseudo-isochrons and mantle isochrons;
  • melt generation processes, timescales of storage and crystallization of magmas within the crust through micro-analytical elemental and isotopic profiles;
  • genesis of mafic igneous rocks;
  • genesis of granites;
  • genesis of ore deposits;
  • weathering of igneous rocks;
  • ocean floor metamorphism;
  • open-system evolution processes of magmas (crustal contamination, mixing) by means of combined radiogenic and stable isotopes;
  • characterization and modeling of magmatic sources in variable geodynamic contexts, both ancient and contemporaneous: mid-ocean ridges, ocean islands (hot spots), oceanic and continental subduction zones, continental flood basalts, potassic and ultrapotassic magmatic zones;
  • combined use of stratigraphy, geochronology, trace element and isotope variations (chemostratigraphy);
  • combined use of isotopes and trace elements in tephrostratigraphy and tephrochronology;
  • examples from worldwide magmatic areas.

The course will include a significant period of laboratory work during which the students will prepare and analyze some volcanic rock samples with the aim of producing isotope data that will be interpreted in combination with major and trace elements data.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The main goal of this course is to provide the students with a solid background in isotope geochemistry applied to volcanology and petrology, including a laboratory experience aimed at producing and interpreting isotope data.

Assessment Information

Laboratory reports and oral discussion.


For Italian students, please see

For foreign students, please see Admission regulation with reference to second cycle degree programme (laurea magistrale – lm)

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