• Class Number 2939
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Stewart Fallon
    • Prof Stewart Fallon
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an introduction to powerful analytical techniques used to determine the elemental and isotopic compositions of Earth materials such as rocks, minerals, microfossils, corals and water. It includes understanding types of instrumentation and other analytical techniques essential to the Earth Sciences, how to assess data quality and how to document and present results effectively. It will prepare students for the analytical aspects of their Honours research projects. The course will also develop students theoretical and practical understanding of the geochemical and/or mineralogical techniques that they will deploy in their research.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Describe the theoretical and practical aspects of major analytical instrumentation (including electron microprobe, FTIR, XRF, XRD, mass spectrometery - ICPMS, TIMS, SIMS) used across the Earth Sciences in fields such as geochemistry, mineralogy, biogeochemistry, marine and climate science. The emphasis is on instrumentation and laboratories available to students at RSES.
  2. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different analytical techniques for different applications.
  3. Appraise the advantages and disadvantages of different analytical techniques for a research program.
  4. Undertake data assessment and quality control.
  5. Explain the requirements for data documentation and reporting in a professional context.
  6. Design an analytical work-flow to acquire data and achieve the research objectives of their project.
  7. Process data from the chosen instruments and demonstrate understanding of the limitations and quality of the data. Justify the approach taken to data processing.
  8. Write a clear and concise justification and description of the analytical techniques employed, suitable for publication in a scientific journal.

Research-Led Teaching

Students will be taught about most of the major, cutting edge geochemical analytical techniques available at RSES. All of these have enabled research in the School for many years. Students will research techniques of direct relevance to their honours research projects and develop analytical protocols to aid their research.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

Students will require a laptop during lectures and practical sessions.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements


Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lab visit to Centre for Advanced Microscopy - Wavelength Dispersive Analysis Stewart Fallon and Frank Brink (guest lecturer)
2 Stable Isotopes Stewart Fallon, Georgy Falster - IRMS assessment
3 ICPMS theory and lab visit Stewart Fallon, Olivier Alard - ICPMS assessment
4 XRD, PIFM theory Stewart Fallon, Laura Otter, Michael Forster
5 Secondary ionisation mass spectrometry and in-situ isotope dating and SHRIMP lab visit Stewart Fallon
6 Oral presentation of analytical design for the students' research projects Stewart Fallon - Assessable presentation (20%)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
IRMS and water isotope data processing and interpretation 20 % 27/03/2024 1,2,3,4,5
Practical session on ICPMS data analytical protocols and data reduction (A, AT) 20 % 10/04/2024 1,2,3,4,5
Practical session on TIMS/SIMS 20 % 20/04/2024 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Quiz on mass spectrometry 20 % 02/05/2024 1,2,3,4,5
Oral presentation of analytical design for the students' research projects (20%) 20 % 05/05/2024 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


The final presentation (assessment task 5) is compulsory for passing the course.


There will be no formal examination.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 27/03/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

IRMS and water isotope data processing and interpretation

Students will prepare samples and standards for IRMS and water isotopes, they will analyze and interpret the data (20%).

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 10/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Practical session on ICPMS data analytical protocols and data reduction (A, AT)

An in-class, written practical exercise to be handed in (20%). Students will undertake reduction of raw LA-ICPMS data using the Iolite software package.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 20/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Practical session on TIMS/SIMS

An in-class, written practical exercise to be handed in (20%).

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 02/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Quiz on mass spectrometry

Quiz to be handed in (20%).

Assessment Task 5

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 05/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Oral presentation of analytical design for the students' research projects (20%)

Students will design an analytical approach to an earth science problem of relevance to their research topics (where possible) and make a 15 minutes presentation to the class and teaching team outlining and justifying their experimental design.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned during practical classes (one week after hand-in where possible), and results discussed with students.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Yes, after discussion with the convenor.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Stewart Fallon

Research Interests

Experimental petrology, diamonds, kimberlites, carbonatites, deep carbon cycle, mantle, oxygen fugacity

Prof Stewart Fallon

Monday By Appointment
Tuesday By Appointment
Wednesday By Appointment
Thursday By Appointment
Friday By Appointment
Prof Stewart Fallon

Research Interests

Prof Stewart Fallon

Monday By Appointment
Tuesday By Appointment
Wednesday By Appointment
Thursday By Appointment
Friday By Appointment

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