APPLIED ISOTOPE GEOCHEMISTRY
cod. 1009151

Academic year 2024/25
1° year of course - First semester
Professor
Paola IACUMIN
Academic discipline
Geochimica e vulcanologia (GEO/08)
Field
Discipline mineralogiche, petrografiche e geochimiche
Type of training activity
Characterising
62 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
in ITALIAN

Learning objectives

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.

Prerequisites

no prerequisite

Course unit content

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 isotopic ratios that different materials may acquire during their formation, evolution, transformation;
□ 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

Full programme

Isotopes and the calibration lines
definitions
isotopic ratios
Delta parameter "δ": official and traditional definition
fundamental relationship and transformation of the delta values
Constants processing for the numerical expression of "δ"
fractionation coefficient
Types of measurements and instrumentation
Reference materials used or usable
calibration line for the determination of delta
methodological comments
Calibration using only one reference material
Problems and comments: instrumental reproducibility and uncertainty prediction; equation for the calculation of delta, two different calibration philosophies; the reaction between the apatite and orthophosphoric acid
The isotopic fractionation
The isotopic equilibrium
The kinetic fractionation
Preparation of different types of sample for isotopic analysis:
water; carbonates and apatite; the organic material, the silicate minerals
Equipment connected to the mass spectrometer for isotopic analysis
The oxygen and hydrogen isotopes
The isotopic water cycle
isotopic composition of natural waters
The water-steam fractionation, water-ice
Relationship between the isotopic composition of oxygen and hydrogen in the rain: the world straight in precipitation
The evaporation of surface land waters
The rains and the relationship between the isotopic composition and the average ground temperature
Groundwater and surface waters: study isotope of aquifers; charging in temperate zones; mitigation of isotopic variations with depth; Examples of ground water
Isotopic Characterization of the ice and climatic implications:
the ice domes; as you rebuild the change in temperature from the ice; the excess of deuterium to paleoclimatic purposes; how to analyze the results
The study of the isotopic composition of oxygen in the ancient bones: environmental implications
The study of the isotopic composition of oxygen and hydrogen in minerals and rocks
The isotopes of carbon
Carbon isotopic composition of different materials
Isotopic composition of carbon in natural waters
Dissolving carbon dioxide in water and DIC
Carbon isotope fractionation between carbon dioxide, DIC and calcite
Evolution of the isotopic composition of DIC and proceed to the dissolution of calcite
Methane: isotopic fractionation DIC-methane
Methane influence in the precipitation of carbonates
The marine and lake sediment cores:
the scale of paleotemperatures; changes in atmospheric CO2 in geological time.
Speleothems:
formation of the stalagmite, interpretation of the results obtained
The study of the isotopic composition of carbon in the collagen and nell'apatite of ancient bones: environmental implications
The nitrogen isotopes
Nitrogen isotopic composition in different materials
The nitrogen biogeochemical processes and the nitrogen isotope fractionation
nitrogen fractionation along the food chain
Relationship between isotopic composition of nitrogen and oxygen in nitrates
Nitrate contamination in surface waters
The study of the isotopic composition of nitrogen in food and Applications
The study of the isotopic composition of nitrogen in the collagen of the ancient bones: environmental implications
The sulfur isotopes
isotopic composition of sulfur in various materials
isotopic composition of marine sulfate
Sulfate terrestrial and marine sulfate
Fractionation between sulfate and sulfide
The sulfur in the atmosphere
The sulfate content in water
The sulfate evaporite
isotope exchange between water and minerals
high temperature systems: development of water values
Geothermal waters and geothermometers
in low temperature systems and hydration of silicate minerals in the clay minerals
Brines from crystalline basements and sedimentary formations
Brines of Salsomaggiore
Laboratory exercises
Using the mass spectrometer, the CHN, TCEA, automatic preparator of water, Gas-Bench for the oxygen isotopic analysis, carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen. Treatment of solid samples.

Bibliography

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
Lecture notes
Powerpoint presentation of the lessons

Teaching methods

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 in order to enable the student to carry out independently a particular analytical procedure outlined in theoretical form during the lessons.
THE LESSONS WILL BE ORGANIZED FACE-TO-FACE. IF THE HEALTH EMERGENCY PERSIST, THERE WILL BE THE POSSIBILITY TO ENJOY THE LESSONS AT HOME IN ASYNCHRONOUS MODE (LOADED ON THE ELLY PAGE OF THE COURSE); THE LABORATORY EXERCISES WILL BE ORGANIZED IN PRESENCE WITH 2/3 STUDENTS.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exams will be organized FACE-TO-FACE.
The profit exam includes:
a written assignment with about ten questions to be answered in 2 hours. Each question is worth 3 or 4 points depending on the difficulty. Honors are acquired with a score above 30.

Other information

nothing