Short Course

This short course was held in October 2014. View Short Course Schedule (PDF)


This video is part of a series of recorded lectures from the Geochronology short course available on our Youtube geochronology playlist.

Organizers: Rebecca Flowers (CU), Ramon Arrowsmith (ASU) Jim Metcalf (CU), Blair Schoene (Princeton), Tammy Rittenour (USU)

The EarthScope Institute on Geochronology and the Earth Sciences brought together 43 participants and 16 geochronology experts in Vancouver, British Columbia on October 17-18, 2014, immediately before the 2014 Geological Society of America National Meeting. The audience consisted of graduate students and faculty who are interested in using geochronology in their research, but have little actual experience with the methods.

This course had two primary functions. First, it introduced the participants to the basic theory of well-established geochronology methods, highlighted examples of how geochronology datasets can be used to answer significant Earth science questions, and emphasized practical considerations and tactical strategies for designing projects that include geochronology. The methods covered ranged from U-Pb and 40Ar/39Ar to luminescence and 14C dating. The speakers included a mix of longstanding leaders in their fields and early to mid career scientists. In addition, the course introduced the new EarthScope Geochronology Graduate Student Research and Training program, a multi- year project that will offer support of up to $10,000 to graduate students to collect and interpret geochronology data with relevance to EarthScope science targets  through visits and hands-on data acquisition in participating geochronology labs (see more information at The program aims to promote interdisciplinary and innovative science by fostering new relationships between PhD students, scientists, and geochronology labs at different institutions. The awards will be made via a competitive process with the first submission deadline on March 16, 2015. Feedback from both the lecturers and participants was overwhelmingly positive about the potential benefits of this program.

This gathering of geochronology speakers with such a broad spectrum of expertise is unusual, which along with the perspectives and diverse backgrounds of the participants lead to insightful exchanges about how to promote successful interdisciplinary collaborations during the open discussion periods. Some universal themes that emerged included the importance of: 1) close interaction between geochronologists and collaborating students at all stages of the process, even from the outset of study design so that optimal samples are targeted and collected properly, 2) using appropriate mineral separation and sample preparation procedures prior to arriving at the lab, 3) reporting the uncertainties associated with geochronology dates, and 4) developing skills to rigorously evaluate, present, and interpret geochronology data. This hands-on training at the graduate level provides the foundation for students to become an expert user of these facilities throughout their careers.