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    Vassar College
   
 
  Oct 24, 2017
 
 
    
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ESCI 385 - Stable Isotopes in the Earth and Environmental Sciences


1 unit(s)
Stable isotopes are fundamental tools used in the Earth and Environmental Sciences to investigate past climates, track animal migration routes, unravel food webs, and study the origins of life on Earth, among other applications. This course highlights the uses of stable isotopes in ecological, climatic, environmental, and geological studies and also discusses the limitations and scientific abuses of these tools. Students learn the fundamentals of stable isotope biogeochemistry, including the differences between stable and radiogenic isotopes and the processes that fractionate (separate) common stable isotopes among different biogeochemical reservoirs. Readings derive from the primary literature and are adjusted to cover topics of interest to students. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, biogeochemical cycling, uplift of mountain ranges, paleodiets of fossil organisms, and climate change.

Prerequisite(s): One 100-level earth science or chemistry course.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 4-hour period.



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