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Acquisition of a Fission Track Analytical Facility

English title Acquisition of a Fission Track Analytical Facility
Applicant Spikings Richard A.
Number 117359
Funding scheme R'EQUIP
Research institution Département des sciences de la Terre Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Geochemistry
Start/End 01.07.2007 - 30.06.2008
Approved amount 114'845.00
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Keywords (7)

Fission track; thermochronology; cooling; exhumation; tectonics; Fission-track; geology

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The Mineralogy Dept., University of Geneva is currently in the process of building a modern fission-track (FT) laboratory. The facility will be used by several groups within the ELSTE community (Joint School of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the Geneva and Lausanne Universities). These groups have a common demand to acquire FT data in future research proposals to achieve their research aims, as well as to render current thermochronology based projects more time and financially efficient.

The facility will allow users within ELSTE to acquire FT data from a variety of minerals that are commonly found in a wide range of acidic igneous rocks, and sedimentary lithologies. The data can be utilized to determine the thermal histories (their temperature variation with time) of those minerals, which can then be used to quantify numerous geological processes, rendering the technique useful to a wide variety of geological disciplines. The FT technique is widely used in the following geological fields:

- The quantification of exhumation processes related to plate collision. For example, the study of orogenesis (e.g. evolution of the Alps, Himalayas, Andes and Rockies).
- The study of extensional tectonics (e.g. Basin and Range, East African Rift, Red Sea, Lake Baikal).
- Analysis of the stability of continental interiors (e.g. Southern Africa, Australia, South America, Scandinavia).
- Determination of the thermal histories of sedimentary basins, which has applications for the petroleum industry (e.g. the Irish and North Sea basins, Papua New Guinea, South America.
- Fingerprinting and quantifying the exhumation histories of source regions for sedimentary basins (e.g. Betics Cordillera, Ecuadorian foreland basin.
- Determination of chronostratigraphic frameworks for sedimentary basins (e.g. Ecuador).
- Landscape evolution studies, in combination with the (U-Th)/He and cosmogenic isotope methods (e.g. Antarctica, Eastern Australia, the Altiplano of N. Chile).
- Determination of the timing of ore mineralization events (e.g. Papua New Guinea).

The FT facility forms an official part of the ELSTE community, and hence is readily available to staff and student members of the Faculty of Geosciences and the Environment at the University of Lausanne, as both a teaching and research tool. The laboratory highly complements pre-existing apparatus within ELSTE because, in combination with the 40Ar/39Ar (facilities in Geneva and Lausanne) and (U-Th)/He (Lausanne) methods, it provides a full suite of thermochronological tools that will allow us to determine the thermal histories of rocks through almost the entire range of temperatures found in the earth’s middle and upper crust.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
107596 Accretionary and post-accretionary cooling, exhumation and tectonic history of the central and western Andes of Colombia 01.04.2005 Project funding