Geochronology Training

An important mission of our lab is to provide training in geochronology data acquisition and interpretation to those outside our immediate research group at CU. We accomplish this through several major avenues.

First, we routinely welcome visitors to the CU TRaIL, including undergraduates, graduate students, and senior scientists. Our visitors gain experience sample preparation and are exposed to the steps associated with (U-Th)/He analysis.

We also played a key role in establishing the AGeS (Awards for Geochronology Student research) Program. I am the lead-PI, co-founder, and co-director of this initiative. Initially envisioned in 2013 and first funded by NSF in 2014, AGeS is a competitive grant program aimed at broadening access to geochronology data and expertise by offering graduate students up to $10,000 to visit geochronology labs for a week or more to acquire data and be mentored by geochronologists on a project of joint interest (Flowers et al., 2018). As of Fall 2021, AGeS has run 6 proposal cycles, seen 331 submitted proposals, and made 77 awards to graduate students to carry out new collaborative geochronology research. The list of 62 AGeS labs and >100 geochronology mentors on the AGeS website, along with detailed information about every AGeS lab, provides an important resource for the broader Earth science community. Jim Metcalf is leading the AGeS awardee cohort activities.

Third, we have co-organized several short courses on geochronology and thermochronology to promote broader understanding of these techniques. These include:

  •  “EarthScope Institute: Geochronology and the Earth Sciences.” 2-day GSA short course in Vancouver, Canada, October 2014. Co-organized with Ramon Arrowsmith (ASU), Jim Metcalf (CU-Boulder), Tammy Rittenour (USU), and Blair Schoene (Princeton).
  •  “An Introduction to Low-Temperature Thermochronology.” 1.25-day short course at the African Earth Observatory Network, Port Elizabeth, South Africa August 2013. Attended by 19 diverse African graduate students and postdocs. Co-organized by Flowers and PhD student Jess Stanley
  •  “An Introduction to the Theory and Methods of (U-Th)/He Thermochronology.” 1-day GSA short course at the CU TRaIL October 2013. Co-organized by Flowers and Metcalf.

Jim Metcalf explaining thermal history modeling of (U-Th)/He data at our 2013 (U-Th)/He thermochronology short course at the CU TRaIL.