Uranium Decay Geochronology

Zircon collage
collated image of zoned zircon crystals


The Uranium Decay Geochronology course is currently under development and will open for registration in Spring 2023. We are currently recording the videos and capturing field and laboratory footage. You can follow our developments on Facebook and Twitter @GAEAcademy.

The final course will cover:

The fundamentals of U-Th and U-Pb dating, including how it is calibrated.  We will discuss the range of materials that can be targeted using U decay geochronology, and the challenges that different materials present.

We will cover the workflows involved with Uranium decay geochronology, from characterisation and preparation of materials through to isotope-ratio mass spectrometry following chemical purification and/or in-situ sampling using laser ablation, and the pros and cons of different analytical approaches.

Finally, we’ll cover how to interpret data and derive dates and geologically significant ages, whilst considering various levels of uncertainty, including using a variety of reference materials to ensure the accuracy and traceability of the results. And finally, how to present and report U-Th and U-Pb dates and associated metadata to ensure the results are accessible and reusable in future studies.

Each of these steps will be demonstrated using a series of recent case studies highlighting the issues in practice.

Whilst this course is focussed on U decay systems and methodologies, many of the principles and issues covered will be applicable to other radio-isotope dating systems