SFMC Short course report: Petrochronology: Methods and Applications

The Short course “Petrochronology: Methods and Applications” was held 22 23 April 2017 in Vienna. It was co-organized byPierre Lanari (Univ. Bern), Matt Kohn (Boise state Univ.) and Martin Engi (Univ. Bern), who also served as editors of the new volume (83) of Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry (RiMG) entitled Petrochronology: Methods and Applications. The short course brought together 85 participants from 25 countries, including graduate students, early career scientists, and senior researchers. Sponsors also included the Geochemical Society, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) and the Société Française de Minéralogie et Cristallographie (SFMC) which awarded six travel grants (see list in section 4) and the European Association of Geochemistry (EAG) which offered a reduced registration rate of 25 € to 11 students.

On the first day, Chris Clark (Curtin Univ.) provided a clear review of the use of equilibrium phase diagrams in petrogenetic modeling, including accessory minerals. Pierre Lanari then addressed issues of incomplete equilibration and potential pitfalls for thermobarometry, followed by Matt Kohn who skillfully presented effects (merits and perils) of diffusion and Ralf Dohmen (Univ. Bochum) who gave a comprehensive overview of techniques used to study magmatic processes (chronometry and speedometry). In the afternoon, zircon – the most commonly used accessory mineral in petrochronology – was highlighted by Daniela Rubatto (Univ. Bern). Blair Schoene (Princeton Univ.) discussed opportunities and obstacles of U-Pb and Sm-Nd rock dating by TIMS before Andrew Kylander-Clark (Santa Barbara Univ.) gave a practical demonstration of LASS-ICP-MS monazite dating – on-line from Vienna with his lab in California!

The morning session on the second day was dominated by garnet, with Mark Caddick and Besim Dragovic (Virginia Tech) taking the participants through a passionate review across observational, modeling and dating techniques. Petrochronological applications involving titanite and rutile were then presented, respectively, by Matt Kohn and Ellen Kooijman (Museum of Natural History, Stockholm). After lunch, Urs Schaltegger (Univ. Geneva) turned the attention to igneous systems, with a special focus on zircon. Axel Schmitt (Univ. Heidelberg) described the use of the Secondary Ionization Mass Spectrometry Analysis (SIMS). And for a finish, Emilie Janots (Univ. Grenoble) presented insights into recent experimental results on mechanisms of monazite dissolution and reprecipitation.

Overall, this first RiMG short course was a scientific and social success: It promoted fruitful discussions among students and researchers not only in between presentations, exchanges continued during social parts of the program. The second short course will follow in Seattle (USA) 20-21 October 2017 (http://seattle2017.petrochronology.org).


Dr. Pierre Lanari (University of Bern), Prof. Matt Kohn (Boise State University), Prof. Chris Clark (Curtin University), Prof. Ralf Dohmen (Bochum University), Prof. Daniela Rubatto (University of Bern), Prof. Blair Schoene (Princeton University), Dr. Andrew Kylander-Clark (Santa Barbara University), Prof. Mark Caddick and Dr. Besim Dragovic (Virginia Polytechnic Institute), Dr. Ellen Kooijman (Swedish Museum of Natural History), Prof. Urs Schaltegger (University of Geneva), Prof. Axel Schmitt (Heidelberg University), Dr. Emilie Janots (University of Grenoble).

RiMG volume 83

The RiMG vol. 83 “Petrochronology: Methods and Application” is available for purchase via the MSA website

Support for students

Six travel grants were awarded to the following PhD students: Laura Airaghi, Bar Elisha, Karolina Kosminska, Benjamin Lefeuvre and Mahyra Tedeschi.

Eleven students and young researchers received a reduced registration rate offered by the EAG: Joana A. dos Santos Feirrera, Salvatore Iaccarino, Martin Lindner, Caroline Lotout, Ivan Misur, Rhea Mitchell, Hugo Moreira, Giulia Rapa, Laurynas Siliauskas, Renee Tamblyn, Alice Vho


This short course was a great opportunity for me, as a first year PhD student, to apprehend the main issues of this research field

Benjamin Lefebvre, PhD student in Paris (France), recipient of a SFMC travel grant

It was highly motivating to take part in this course and it surely is inspiring to witness how this new branch of science, Petrochronology, is evolving

Bar Elisha, PhD student in Be’er Sheva (Israel), recipient of a GS travel grant

More than overviews, these talks were brilliant in the way they covered recent advances, pointed out where present gaps are, and how to possibly overcome certain challenges in petrochronology. As a young researcher, having the chance to participate in such discussions is very stimulating and inspirational.

Inês Pereira, PhD student in Portsmouth (UK) recipient of a EGU travel grant