Application of Diffusion Studies to the Determination of Timescales in Geochemistry and Petrology

With the support of a EAG student sponsorship, I was able to attend the shortcourse “Application of Diffusion Studies to the Determination of Timescales in Geochemistry and Petrology” at the Ruhr-University Bochum. The course was held right after this year’s Goldschmidt conference in Prague and brought together almost 40 students, postdocs and faculty from 11 countries. The organizers, Sumit Chakraborty and Ralf Dohmen, put together an exceptionally well structured course, that not only allowed us to learn about diffusion modeling of petrological processes in a balanced mix of lectures and practicals, but also offered time to socialize and network with other participants.


I attended the course without previously having used diffusion modeling in my research, but hoped to gain knowledge and acquire the tools necessary to improve my experimental work in the future. Right on the first day, it was made clear that the course would be a successful endeavor for me: The course started out with introductory lectures, laying out the basic principles of diffusion modeling, and followed with practical exercises. During the practicals, simple diffusion models were first built using excel-spreadsheets. Later on, these models were expanded, using excel and matlab, and applied to examples taken from the Bochum research group. Presentations of case studies by students and former members of the group, as well as participants, complemented lectures and practicals. At the end of the week, participants not only left with new ideas, but also the instruments, working spreadsheets and code, to start off with diffusion modeling.


During the later afternoons, participants had the chance for a scientific and personal exchange during a cozy poster session with ~10 presentations. Even though I was not one of the participants who presented his work, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about other participant’s work and meeting new and old faces. The social part of the program was concluded with a workshop dinner on Thursday, with equally great food and conversations. Overall, it was a successful week for me and the other participants in one of the best structured short courses I have attended so far!

About the author

Niklas Stausberg is a second-year grad student at Aarhus university in igneous petrology. His research aims to improve the understanding of equilibrium Fe isotopic fractionation in magmatic systems with the help of experiments and studies of natural systems, in particular layered mafic intrusions.