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Would like suggestions for studying igneous rocks and radioactive decay

  1. Apr 23, 2012 #1
    I don't have much of a scientific background, but I am interested in learning about geology. More specifically I would like to study the nature of igneous rocks, particularly their formation through volcanic processes. I'm also very much interested in understanding how the process of radioactive decay occurs in these kinds of rocks. Can anyone give some suggestions on what I need to do to start learning about these subjects?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2012 #2
    A good First year Geology textbok should cover Igneous rock formations.
    Looking at radioactive decay of the mineral crystal lattice is more of an inorganic chemistry or physics problem, but here should be texts out there on the topic.
  4. May 1, 2012 #3


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    hi there

    something for you to look into and something I learnt about in my geology studies at university
    when looking at gneisses and granites ... a clip from wiki...

    Radiometric dating of Zircon has played an important role during the evolution of radiometric dating. Zircons contain trace amounts of uranium and thorium (from 10 ppm up to 1 wt%) and can be dated using several modern analytical techniques. Because zircons can survive geologic processes like erosion, transport, even high-grade metamorphism, they contain a rich and varied record of geological processes. Currently, zircons are typically dated by uranium-lead (U-Pb), fission-track, and U+Th/He techniques.

    Zircons from Jack Hills in the Narryer Gneiss Terrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, have yielded U-Pb ages up to 4.404 billion years,[10] interpreted to be the age of crystallization, making them the oldest minerals so far dated on Earth. In addition, the oxygen isotopic compositions of some of these zircons have been interpreted to indicate that more than 4.4 billion years ago there was already water on the surface of the Earth.[10][11] This interpretation is supported by additional trace element data,[12][13] but is also the subject of debate.[14][15]

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