Time is fundamental to Earth science. Geochronology data are essential for determining the timing, duration, and rates of Earth processes and events, and are increasingly required to perform modern, interdisciplinary Earth science research. The field of geochronology is rapidly evolving as the precision and spatial resolution of existing methods improve, and as new techniques are developed. There is growing demand for scientists who can understand the strengths and limitations of geochronology datasets, and effectively interpret them.
The Department of Geological Sciences includes faculty with diverse geochronology expertise, and labs that provide opportunities for students to gain experience preparing samples for geochronologic analysis, acquiring analytical data, and interpreting geochronologic datasets. Relevant facilities in GEOL include the (U-Th)/He Geochronology Lab (or CU TRaIL) directed by Professor Becky Flowers that contains an Alphachron He extraction line and Agilent 7900 quadrupole ICPMS, and the Electron Microprobe lab with a new JEOL 8230 probe for mineral characterization and monazite U-Pb dating directed by Professor Kevin Mahan. INSTAAR facilities include the Cosmogenic Preparation Lab directed by Professors Bob Anderson and Giff Miller, the ICPMS lab that contains a Thermo Finnigan Element2 sector field ICP-MS directed by Professor Tom Marchitto, and the Amino Acid Geochronology lab with two Agilent HPLCs, directed by Professor Giff Miller. Supporting facilities for mineral characterization include the Raman spectroscopy facility in GEOL.