2020 Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Yokoyama Tetsuya  Sekine Yasuhito 
Class Format
Lecture    (ZOOM)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon7-8(I2-318, Ishikawadai Bldg. 2, 318 room)  Thr7-8(I2-318, Ishikawadai Bldg. 2, 318 room)  
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 seven 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 of elements
Class 3 Radioactivity Understanding of radioactivity
Class 4 Chronology Understanding of various chronometers
Class 5 Mass fractionation of stable isotopes Understanding of mass dependent isotope fractionation
Class 6 Meteoritics Understanding of meteorites and their chemical components
Class 7 Formation of the Solar System Understanding of formation and building materials of the Solar System
Class 8 Formation and chemical evolution of planetesimals Formation theory of planetesimals and observations of asteroids
Class 9 Proto-planets and snowlines Condensation of volatiles and observations of outer Solar System
Class 10 Gas giants and giant impacts Understanding of formation of gas giants and subsequent giant impacts
Class 11 Formation of the Moon Understanding of formation of the Moon based on lunar samples
Class 12 Magma ocean and the origin of the atmosphere and ocean Formation of magma ocean and differentiation of planets
Class 13 Evolution of the atmosphere and oceans Understanding of chemical evolution on planetary surfaces
Class 14 Habitability and Solar System explorations Chemical evolution and habitability on Mars and icy moons

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Handouts will be provided via OCW.

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 the reports assigned during the class.

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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