2016 Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Yokoyama Tetsuya  Usui Tomohiro 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue5-6(I2-318)  Fri5-6(I2-318)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

Geochemistry is a research field which tries to discover fundamental principles and laws that control the distribution of elements, isotopes, and chemical species in the solar system and the earth. In addition to fundamental researches, geochemistry is intimately related to applications such as space exploration and resource survey. Consequently, geochemistry has been developed significantly in the last 100 years of its history, becoming extremely important in earth and planetary sciences. This course consists of basic and application classes regarding geochemistry and cosmochemistry, specifically focusing on the origin and evolution of the solar system. The fundamentals for elements and isotopes will be given in the first five classes, followed by the classes introducing the applications utilizing such tracers for elucidating the origin and evolution of the solar system.

Student learning outcomes

At the end of this course, students will be able to understand:
1) the origin of elements and the solar system
2) the timescale for the evolution of early solar system and early earth
3) chemical and isotopic distribution in the solar system and within the planets


Elements, Isotopes, Meteorites, Early solar system, Early earth, Chronology

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Before coming to class, students should read the course schedule and prepare for the topics with handouts and references.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Elements and isotopes Review the fundamentals of elements and isotopes
Class 2 Origin of elements Understanding of stellar nucleosynthesis
Class 3 Meteoritics Understanding of meteorites and their chemical components
Class 4 Radiogenic isotope chronology Understanding of the principle for radiometric dating
Class 5 Stable isotope fractionation Understanding of mass dependent isotope fractionation
Class 6 Presolar world Understanding of the origin of presolar grains using their isotope compositions
Class 7 Origin of the solar system Understanding of the theory of solar system formation
Class 8 Chemical composition of the solar system Understanding of chemical composition of the solar system constrained by the observation and analyses of meteorites
Class 9 Isotopic composition of the soalr system Understanding of isotopic composition of the solar system constrained by the analyses of meteorites
Class 10 Early solar system chronology Understanding of the evolution history of the early solar system constrained by the analyses of meteorites
Class 11 Chemical composition of planets Understanding of the variation of chemical compositions for planets and planetesimals in the solar system
Class 12 Chemical composition of the Moon Understanding of the origin, chemical and isotopic compositions of the moon
Class 13 Chemical evolution of the early earth Understanding of the chemical evolution of solid Earth via the formation of the core, mantle, and crust
Class 14 Evolution of ocean and atmospher Understanding of the origin of the ocean and atmonspher on the Earth
Class 15 Isotopic diversity of mantle Understanding of the isotopic diversity through chemical evolution of the Earth's mantle


Handouts will be provided during the class

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Kenji Notsu "Cosmochemistry and Geochemistry" Asakurashoten (in Japanese)
Mitsuru Ebihara "Chemistry of the solar system" Shokabo (in Japanese)
Jun'ich Matsuda, Hisayoshi Yurimoto "Cosmochemistry and Planetary chemistry" Baihukan (in Japanese)

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be assessed on their understanding of the origin and evolution of the solar system and early earth, including their timescales.
Students' course scores are based on final exam (65%) and reports (35%).

Related courses

  • LAS.A101 : Earth and Space Sciences A
  • LAS.A102 : Earth and Space Sciences B

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites

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