Caroline Welte: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2021
|Dr. Caroline Welte
ETH Zürich, HG H 50.3
|+41 44 632 69 95
Students registering for the course confirm having read and accepted the terms and conditions for excursions and field courses of D-ERDW:
|2V + 1U
|T. I. Eglinton, C. Magnabosco, C. Welte, S. Wohlwend
|We will study traces in the lithosphere that have been left behind by organisms during the course of Earth history and mineral components, which were built through biological processes or used as sources of energy and nutrients by organisms. Traces of life from the past will be compared with the development of the diversity of today's organisms.
|The course will allow you to ask questions about the origin and the evolution of life on Earth, to understand contemporary hypotheses and create new methods of developing them further. Theory is supplemented with observations in the field, exercises and the application of simple mathematical models. The course will enable you to integrate geobiological knowledge into topics that will be taught in subsequent earth science courses and into the current understanding of Earth history. You will learn to better understand modern geological settings and, if necessary, to recommend biogeochemically well-founded and responsible interventions or protective measures.
|The course focuses on (a) geobiochemical cycles that play major roles in Earth history in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, (b) biosynthetic and metabolic processes, which are essential for life, (c) organisms which regulate and maintain geochemical cycling, and (d) chemical signals of past life in the geological record.
Accordingly, we must understand
-- how biological cells and its components are built from essential elements and molecules,
-- how cells function and which life styles organisms developed,
-- where organisms can exist and which factors select for their presence,
-- where biologically useable forms of energy come from, and under which conditions they can be exploited,
-- how biological metabolism can change environmental conditions and composition,
-- which biological products can lead to signals preserved in the rock record, and how biomolecules and elements are altered in sedimentary deposits,
-- how organic and inorganic components are cycled through the biosphere, and how biogeochemical cycles function,
-- how "biological innovations" evolved and changed in response to environmental changes.
Applied Case Studies, which supplement and illustrate the contents:
-- Scientific applications of geobiological knowledge are found in fields like Microbial Ecology, Geochemistry, Palaeontology, Sedimentology, Petrology, Ocean Research, Environmental Sciences, Astrobiology and Archaeology.
-- Practical applications of geobiological knowledge are needed in fields like stabilisation of existing and design of safe waste repositories, surveilling ground water resources, sewage treatment, exploitation of and prospecting for fossil carbon sources, soil remediation, mineral exploration and leaching, forensic science and medicine.
|Prerequisites / Notice
|Als integraler Bestandteil der Vorlesung wird eine Exkursion durchgeführt.
Mit der Belegung akzeptieren die Studierenden die Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen für Exkursionen und Feldkurse des D-ERDW: https://www.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/erdw/department/dokumente/studium/exkursionen/AGB_ERDW_Exkursionen_dt.pdf
|Radionuclides as Environmental Tracers
|N. Casacuberta Arola, M. Christl, L. Wacker, C. Welte
|Radionuclides stemming from natural and artificial sources are powerful tools that allow gaining a better understanding of a large range of environmental processes. This course will focus on cosmogenic and anthropogenic radionuclides and will provide a general overview about common applications and the use of tracers in the environment, e.g. to understand past climatic changes and ocean currents.
|Students learn the basic facts about sources and fate of natural and artificial long-lived radionuclides (e.g. 14C, 26Al, 10Be, 129I 236U, Pu-isotopes, etc.). They gain insights into the different detection techniques, with special focus on accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). A selection of the numerous applications of the different radionuclides in oceanic, atmospheric and terrestrial processes will be studied.
|The course will include lectures, practical exercises and two excursions, namely the opportunity to visit the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) and the AMS facilities at ETH (Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics).
Lectures will cover:
- an introduction to natural and artificial radionuclides;
- a general overview of radionuclide detection, in particular AMS will be studied including a tour to the Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics;
- applications of long-lived radionuclides in the different environmental compartments (oceans, atmosphere and terrestrial environments):
o The use of 14C in oceanic, atmospheric and terrestrial studies including a tour to the WSL labs;
o applications of 10Be in ice cores and marine sediments;
o applications of nuclear wastes from nuclear accidents (e.g. Fukushima);
o controlled releases from nuclear reprocessing plants and their role in understanding oceanic processes.
Exercise classes will include an introduction to the Ocean Data View and basic course in applying box models to describe transport and mixing processes.
As an evaluation, students will have to hand in a series of exercises related to the different topics of the lecture.
|Prerequisites / Notice
|The content of this course is interdisciplinary and it will benefit from students coming from different fields.
Two lab tours are organized.
This course is also well suited for Ph.D. students.
Students will need to bring their own computer that allow installing Ocean Data View.
Number of participants limited to 6.
Please contact the lecturer for details immediately after subscription.
|C. Welte, L. Wacker
|Radiocarbon (14C) dating is the most eminent dating tool for carbon containing samples younger than ~50 kyr and a useful tracer of the carbon cycle. Within this lab course, the sample preparation and 14C analysis of wood samples (or upon agreement other samples) will be performed.
|In this hands-on block course, students will have the opportunity to perform radiocarbon analysis of wood samples. This will include understanding the theoretical background of radiocarbon dating and its importance within Earth Sciences and related fields. Participants will gain know-how on the preparation of wood samples for AMS analysis. They will learn about the importance of suitable reference materials when performing AMS analysis. Data evaluation for C-14 measurements will be performed and discussed.
|Sampling of tree ring layers.
Preparation of reference materials and samples for AMS measurement, including chemical pre-treatment and graphitisation.
Assisting the AMS measurement.
Data evaluation and interpretation of results.
|Prerequisites / Notice
|This is a block course for D-ERDW or D-USYS master or PhD students.
Recommended (but not a prerequisite 651-4191-00L Radionuclides as Environmental Tracers (in Autumn Semester)
651-4901-00L Quaternary Dating Methods (in Autumn Semester)