Thermochronology and Tectonics

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Thermochronological dating techniques, such as fission-track and (U-Th)/He dating, provide important temperature-time data to resolve thermal and uplift/exhumation histories of orogens, passive continental margins and sedimentary basins. UiB has the only thermochronology laboratory in Norway. The main course objective is to train graduate student in broad aspects of thermochronology, specifically in fission-track analysis, and to prepare them to conduct an individual MSc or PhD project in this field.

The course covers theoretical aspects of fission-track and (U-Th)/He dating, practical aspects including sampling strategies, mineral separation and preparation, comprehensive analytical aspects as well as approaches for thermal history modelling and the interpretation of thermochronological data. The course is accompanied by a seminar series, in which course participant study and present thermochronological case studies, such as from Antarctica, the Andes, the Apennines, the Canadian Shield, the North Sea and Scandinavia, and others.

Learning Outcomes

The student

  • Know a range of thermochronological case studies from across the planet
  • Have a broad theoretical background in thermochronological techniques
  • Have a basic understanding of how to plan and design a thermochronological project

The student

  • Are able to separate suitable minerals from rock samples and can prepare these for thermochronological analysis
  • Can conduct apatite fission-track analysis, track length measurement and Dpar measurement
  • Can conduct simple thermal history models from a variety of thermochronological data
  • Can interpret thermochronological data within a tectonic framework

General kompetanse
The student

  • Can communicate aspects of thermochronology and tectonics to a broad geoscience community
  • Have a basic understanding of data quality and uncertainty

Semester of Instruction

Autumn, even numbered years.
Required Previous Knowledge
Advanced structural geology
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a master¿s program at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
Lectures, practicals, seminar: 2 timer per week
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Mandatory participation in lectures, seminars and practicals.
Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are:

Passed practicals

Grading Scale
Passed/ failed
Assessment Semester
Assessment is offered only in the actual semester in which teaching is given.
Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Course Coordinator
The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact
Course Administrator
The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program