Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit focuses on the use of key stable and radiogenic isotope systems for unravelling Earth's evolution. The unit examines the basic principles behind nucleosynthesis, radioactive decay and stable isotope fractionation as a basis for exploring the two main applications of isotope geochemistry, namely geochronology and the isotope tracing of geological processes. Emphasis is placed on the petrogenesis of igneous and metamorphic rocks, as recorders of the dynamic history of Earth's mantle and continental crust, with implications for the evolution of the atmosphere and oceans, and on understanding the sources of metals in ore deposits. The use of short-lived 'extinct' radiogenic isotope systems for deducing the timing of very early planetary processes is also outlined. The unit includes an overview of the techniques and instruments used for measuring isotope ratios in geological samples with some practical work.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) demonstrate understanding of how radiogenic isotope systems help constrain the timing of important crustal processes; (2) demonstrate understanding of how radiogenic and stable isotopic variations can be used to trace processes of magma generation, metamorphism and the formation of ore deposits; and (3) apply these concepts, particularly integration of radiogenic and stable isotopes, to explore larger scale lithospheric and mantle processes.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical exercises and short reports and (2) theory examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Anthony Kemp
Unit rules
Enrolment in
72550 Master of Geoscience
or 70630 Master of Science
or 70590 Master of Ore Deposit Geology
Advisable prior study
EART3342 Geochemistry and Petrology
or equivalents
Contact hours
workshops: 9 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.