Spring 2018 - EASC 705 G100

Special Topics (3)

Isotope Geochemistry

Class Number: 13101

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    AQ 5006, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 18, 2018
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    AQ 5008, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Kirste Dirk
    Office: TASC 1 Room 7411
  • Prerequisites:

    Permission of the instructor.



Isotope Geochemistry introduces students to theoretical and practical aspects of geochemical isotope systems, radiometric geochronology and stable isotope geochemistry. The course provides students with the knowledge to understand and interpret isotope data used to study Earth processes from the origin of the earth to the timing of tectonic events to the source and fate of groundwater.

Course Topics:
1.      The nucleus, nuleosynthesis and isotopes
2.      Radioactive decay and geochronology
3.      Cosmochemistry
4.      Isotope geochemistry of the mantle
5.      Isotope geochemistry of the crust
6.      Stable isotope geochemistry
7.      Unconventional isotopes
8.      Isotope geochemistry of noble gases

Midterm and final exams. Submit weekly/ biweekly laboratory assignments. Conduct a short research project using existing or new isotope data to be completed as a report and short presentation. 

Course Organization:
Two 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour lab weekly.  


Learning Outcomes

Critical Evaluation Skills Development: students are given the opportunity to understand the basic knowledge that underlies many of the modern applications of isotope geochemistry. Data from real studies will be used to teach how to use isotope studies to query conventional geochemical approaches.

Analytical Skill Development: students learn how to analyze and make interpretations from isotope datasets, inclusive of geological, geochemical, hydrogeochemical, and hydrogeological datasets. Understanding of sources of data uncertainty.  


  • Assignments 30%
  • Midterm Exam 15%
  • Final Exam 25%
  • Research Project 30%



Materials/supplies: Lecture notes and selected readings will be provided.  


White, W.M. 2015. Isotope Geochemistry. Wiley, West Sussex, UK 478 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-470-6567

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html