FALL 1995, updated weekly

The purpose of this page is for course participants to access information about reading assignments and other developments as the semester progresses. To get general info about the course, you may also want to look at the course announcement.



Instructor: Ken Rubin
Day, Time: Monday afternoons, 2:30-4:20PM

Place: MGG Conference Room

Fellow Seminarians.....

This class will consist of roughly once-a-week, semi-informal meetings, in which we will discuss various topics of interest to the group. The general subject, geochronological techniques applicable to the Quaternary, will be explored through student-led discussions focused on the scientific literature. Expect to read 1-3 research papers a week. (Discussion leaders' names are given in Bold Text for each reading



1. Krishnaswamy, S., D. Lal, J.M. Martin, and M. Meybeck.(1971) Geochronology of Lake Sediments Earth and Planetary Sci. Lett., 11, 407-414.

2. Ritchie, J.C. and J.R. McHenry.(1990) Application of radioactive fallout cesium-137 for measuring soil erosion and sediment accumulation rates and patterns: A review. J. Environ. Qual., 19, 215-233.

3. Dating with lead-210. Chapter 21, page 374-377 of Faure (Principles of Isotope Geology)


1. Hearty, et al., (1992) Aminostratigraphy and ages of Pleistocene limestones of Bermuda. Geological Society of America Bulletin 104, 471-480.

2. Ferland, et al., (1995) Glacial lowstand deposits on the outer continental shelf of southeastern Australia. Quaternary Research 44 294-299.



1. Burnett and Yeh (1995) Separation of Protactinium from Geochemical Materials via Extraction Chromatography, Radioactivity and Radiochemistry, in review

2. Veeh (1982) Concordant Th-230 and Pa-231 Ages of Marine Phosphorites, EPSL, 57, 278-281.

We will meet in the normal place and then go to Max's Lab, MSB 522, x66406. If you miss the group, come over to the lab


Jeff W.

Obsidian Hydration Dating

1. Friedman and Long (1976) Hydration Rate of Obsidian. Science 191, 347-352.

2. Lynch and Stevenson (1992) Obsidian Hydration Dating and Temperature Controls in the Punta Negra Region of Northern Chile. Quaternary Research 37, 117-124.


Calibration of the 14C time-scale during the late Pleistocene/Holocene

1. Bard et al. (1990). Calibration of the 14C timescale over the past 30,000 years using mass spectrometric U-Th ages from Barbados corals. Nature, 345, 405-410.

2. Edwards et al. (1993). A large drop in atmospheric 14C/12C and reduced melting in the Younger Dryas, documented with 230Th ages of corals. Science, 260, 962-968.

Readings for 13 November 1995


1. Rubin, KH and Macdougall, JD (1990) Dating of neovolcanic MORB with (226Ra/230Th) disequilibrium, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 101, 313-322.

2. Goldstein, SJ et al. (1993) 231Pa and 230Th chronology of mid-ocean ridge basalts, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 115, 151-159.

Readings for 6 November 1995


background: Archaeometry, vol. 20 (1978) pp147-158

1. Science (1980) 207, 977-979.

2. Earth and Planetary Science Letters (1983) 65, 34-38.

Jeff D.

1. Cane, MA (1992) Tropical Pacific ENSO models: ENSO as a mode of the coupled system. In: Climate System Modeling., Ed. K.E. Trenberth. pp. 583-586.

2. Baumgartner, et al. (1989) The recording of interannual climatic change by high-resolution natural systems: tree-rings, coral bands, glacial ice layers, and marine varves. In: Aspects of Climate Variability in the Pacific and the Western Americas, Ed. D.H. Peterson. pp. 1-14.

Readings for 30 October 1995

1. Faure. chapter 21 sections 2 and 3.pps 368-372.

2. Edwards et al. (1986/87). 238U-234U-230Th-232Th systematics and the precise measurement of time over the past 500,000 years. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 81, 175-192.

3. Hamelin et al. (1991). 234U/238U mass spectrometry of corals: How accurate is the U-Th age of the last interglacial period? Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 106, 169-180.

Readings for 23 October 1995


1. P. Worsley, Chapter 5.6 from in Geomorphological Techniques. (This is an overview of the technique).

2. McCarroll, D. (1993) Modelling late-Holocene snow-avalanche activity: incorporating a new approach to lichenometry. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 18, 527-539.


3. Porter, S.C. (1981) Lichenometric studies in the Cascade Range of Washington: establishment of _Rhizocarpon geographicum_ growth curves at Mt. Rainier. Arctic and Alpine Research, 13 (1), 11-23.

Readings for 16 October 1995


1. Grootes et al. (1993) Comparison of Oxygen Isotope Records from the GISP2 and GRIP Greenland Ice Cores. Nature, 366, 552-554.

2. Shackelton (1987) Oxygen isotopes, ice volume, and sea-level. Quaternary Science Reviews, 6, 183-190.

3. Stihler, et.al. (1992) "Varve" counting vs. tephrochronology and 137Cs and 210Pb dating: A comparative test at Skilak Lake, Alaska, Geology, 20, 1019-1022.

4. Varved lake sediments -- geochronological records of the Holocene Ingemar Renberg, Geol. Foren, Stockholm Forhand, 104275-279, 1982


5. Shackleton and Opdyke (1973) Quaternary Research, 3 39-55.

6. Faure (1986) Principles of Isotope Geology. pp. 429-447. (Topics: fractionation, general overview.)

7. Jirikowic and Sonett vs. Stihler, et.al. (1993) "Varve" counting vs. tephrochronology and 137Cs and 210Pb dating: A comparative test at Skilak Lake, Alaska: Comment and Reply Geology, p.763-764.

8. Varves and Varved Clays, Encyclopedia of Sedimentology, Vol. VI, Fairbridge and Bourgeois (ed.)

Readings for 9 October 1995

1. Morrison and Boyd, Organic Chemistry; Selected sections.

2. Bada, Herrmann, payan and Man (1989), Amino acid racemization in bone and the boiling of the German Emperor Lothar I. Applied Geochemistry, 4, 325-327.

3. Bada et al.(1994), Amino acid racemization inamber-entombed insects: Implications for DNA preservation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 58, 3131-3135.

4.Kimber and Griffin (1987), Further evidence of the complexity of the racemization process in fossil shells with implications for amino acid racemization dating. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 51, 839-846.

5. Smith and Evans (1980), The effects of the structure and conditions on the rate of racemization of free and bound amino acids.

Readings for 2 October:

1. Faure, chapter 23, pp. 405-416

2. Guichard et al.(1978), Growth rate of manganese nodule measured with Be-10 and Al-26, Nature, 272, 155-156.

3. Raisbeck & Yiou (1979), Depositional rate and seasonal variations in precipitation of cosmogenic Be-10, Nature, 282, 279-280.

4. Reyss et al. (1976), Aluminum-26 in Deep-Sea Sediment, Science, 193, 1119-1121.

5. Lao, et al. (1992) Increased production of cosmogenic 10Be during the last glacial maximum, Nature, 357 576-578.

Readings for 11 September:

1. Bard (1988) Correction of accelerator mass spectrometry 14C ages measured in planktonic foraminifera: paleoceanographic implications, Paleooceanography 3, 635-645.

2. Broecker et al. (1988) Comparison between radiocarbon ages obtained on coexisting planktonic foraminifera, Paleoceanography 3, 647-657.

Broecker et al. (1988) Preliminary estimates for the radiocarbon age of deep water in the glacial ocean, Paleoceanography 3, 659-669.

Readings for 28 August:

1. Faure: Principles of Isotope Geology, 2nd edition: On reserve in the HIG Library. Chapter 22, (p386-399 only, on 14C). --also-- you should look through Chapter 4 of this book (p38-55) to refresh yourself on the mathematical relationships employed in geochronology.

2. Stuiver, et al., (1978) North American Glacial History Extended to 75,000 yrs ago, Science 200, 16-21.


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last page update on 4 December 1995