NIGK15026U Stable Isotope Geochemistry
MSc Programme in Geography and Geoinformatics
The course has the objective to introduce the principles and use of stable isotopic systems as tracers of geochemical and biological processes with a focus on terrestrial ecosystems, but also include marine and atmospheric aspects. This will include terminology, notations and standards in stable isotope work, theory of isotopic equilibrium and fractionation, and analytical features. Practical examples on isotopic applications will be demonstrated in relation to relevant scientific questions and challenges addressing the interactions between global change and earth systems (greenhouse gases; carbon and nitrogen in soils; hydrological cycles; paleo climates)
Stable isotope analytical techniques (mass spectrometry; infrared laser spectroscopy). Isotopic reference materials; Abundance and characteristics of elements that undergo isotopic fractionation (kinetic effects; equilibrium effects; fractionation factors). Application of stable isotopes, tracers vs. natural abundance. Hydrosphere (precipitation; ice). Carbon in low temperature environments (C-cycle; C-reservoirs; soils; plants; biogeography; sediments; atmosphere). Sulfur and minerals in low temperature environments. Nitrogen (N-cycle; food-webs; diet; greenhouse-gases).
- The course will provide a solid knowledge base for the student to conduct their own research using stable isotope applications in geologic, biologic, water and air samples (H, C, N, O, S).
- The student will achieve survey-level knowledge of the major stable isotopic systems being able to describe the compositions and dynamics of the Earth system.
- In-depth, research-level understanding of one or more stable isotopic systems (interaction with the physical and chemical environment, and human activity).
- Apply and solve algebraic equations involving isotopic mixing and fractionation
- Evaluate demands and prerequisites for accurate isotopic
analysis in various sample materials
Identify which scientific problems and environmental questions can be solved with stable isotopes
Read and understand scientific literature on stable isotopic systems, and critically analyze and evaluate current research
Communicate in written or oral form scientific results to fellow students and scientists.
Please see Absalon course page
- Project work
- Theory exercises
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Oral examination, 20 minWritten assignmentThe written assignment is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list.
- Without aids
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
A written assignment handed in prior to an oral exam, 20 minuttes.
Criteria for exam assesment
Please see learning outcome.