General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Geochronology
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Danuta Michalska, dr Małgorzta Mrozek-Wysocka (koordynator)
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position professor
Faculty Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences
Semester 2023/2024 (winter)
Duration 15


Collegium Geologicum is located at the Morasko Campus, 200 metres from the geography building.

6 meetings - date to be agreed with students at the organizational meeting

Module aim (aims)

The course is aimed to introduce in an easy and comprehensible way the fundamental knowledge about geochronology - selected dating methods An objective of the course is to build up the basic understanding of the application of different methods, time range, preparation, basic principles of age determination; relative and absolute chronology.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

basic knowledge of chemistry and physics (secondary school level).

The knowledge is presented at the level that is accessible not only for the geology students, but also for students of other educational disciplines


Week 1: Relative and absolute chronology. Basic information; stable and radioactive isotopes, isotopic fractionation; mass spectrometry; alpha, beta and gamma radiation; measurement techniques;


week 2 and 3: Application of isotopes in geochronology;  radioactive decay, half-life; Dating range, confidence intervals; measurement techniques, sample size, interpretation of results, limitations of the method. Chronological application, representative examples.


week 4: Selected geochronological methods (e.g.: 14C, K-Ar). Examples, applications.


week 5: Luminescence dating in geology and archaeology. Possibilities and limitations of methods; laboratories. Sample preparation, measurement techniques.


Dendrochronology, the varve method.


week 6: Combined methods in environmental analysis. Discussion

Reading list

Allegre C.J., 2008. Isotope Geology. Cambridge University Press

Beck, J. W., Richards, D. A., Edwards, R. L., Silverman, B. W., Smart, P. L., Donahue, D. J., Hererra-Osterheld, S., Burr, G. S., Calsoyas, L., Jull, A. J. T. and Biddulph, D. (2001). Extremely large variations of atmospheric 14C concentration during the last glacial period. Science 292, 2453–8.

Dickin, Alan P., 2005. Radiogenic Isotope Geology (2nd edition). Cambridge.

Faure G., 1989: Principles of Isotope Geology. John Wiley and Sons. New York

Geyh M. A., Schleicher H. 1990. Absolute Age Determination, Springer, Berlin.

Hoefs J. 2004. Stable Isotope Geochemistry, Springer, Berlin.

Muscheler, R., Beer, J., Wagner, G. and Finkel, R. C. (2000). Changes in deep-water formation during the Younger Dryas event inferred from 10Be and 14C records. Nature 408, 567–70.

Murray A.S., Roberts R.G., 1997. Determining the burial time of single grains of quartz using optically simulated luminescence. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 152, s.163-180.

Rollinson Hugh R. 1993. Using geochemical data: evaluation, presentation, Interpretation. Longman Group UK.

Stuiver, M. Long, A. and Kra, R. S., eds. 1993, Calibration 1993. Radiocarbon. Vol.35, No.1, pp.1-244

Walker M., 2005. Quaternary Dating Methods. Wiley.

White M.W., 1997. Geochemistry.

scientific journals, e.g.: Geochronology, Geologos, Radiocarbon, Archaeometry