how does radioactive dating work - Dating calcite

The overall aim of the project is to develop and implement the new U-Pb calcite dating technique and use it to directly-date (recent and on-going) tectonic processes within the Helvetic-Jura section of the northern Alps.

The student will conduct geological fieldwork in the Swiss and French Alps where structurallycharacterised calcite slickenfibres, veins in fractures, and fill in deformed fossils and tension gashes will be collected.

It has been shown that powdered carbonates will absorb atmospheric CO2 due to the very large surface area.

When it is necessary to extract carbonates by drilling or powdering specific areas of the material (especially those suspected to be very old – greater than 20 ky), we recommend that the drilling be done under an inert gas (like N2, Ar, etc.) and that the material be stored in very small vials and sent to us without delay.

If the materials are not very old (Shells are often sent to accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) labs for radiocarbon dating.

A great proportion of shell materials sent to AMS labs for carbon 14 dating are mollusk shells.

Shells are not easy to radiocarbon date; there are many factors that contribute uncertainties to the results.

Samples will be carefully characterised and dated at the University of Portsmouth’s state-of- the-art petrological and geochronological laboratory facilities using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Cathodoluminescence, laser mapping, and U-Pb dating using cutting-edge Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled- Plasma-Mass- Spectrometry (LA-ICP- MS) facilities.

The student will be embedded within the Crustal Evolution Group under the supervision of Dr Catherine Mottram, Professor Randy Parrish, and Dr James Darling.Roberts and Walker, 2016, Geology; Nuriel et al., 2017, Geology).This has opened up a whole new realm of tectonic investigation in the upper crust.– It is important to understand the pretreatment applied to samples since they directly affect the final result.You are welcome to contact us to discuss the pretreatment or request that we contact you after the pretreatment (and prior to dating).How to apply: We welcome applications from highly motivated prospective students who are committed to develop outstanding research outcomes. Please quote project code SEES4020218 in your application form.

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