Uncertainty in Isotopic Analysis

“The uncertainty of a [measurand] is as important as the [measurand] itself” Ludwig 2003

The interpretation of geochemical data requires knowledge of the uncertainties which accompany the determined values. Understanding how those uncertainties are derived and what they represent is as important as knowing how to interpret the measurement values themselves. Without this understanding, erroneous interpretations are entirely possible and arguably common-place.

Understanding of uncertainty assignment in isotope analysis is particularly critical, since measurement precisions are high and assessment of accuracy and quantification of relative and absolute differences between data populations are key to data interpretation.

This course will use U-Pb, Hf and Si isotope data amongst others, to assess principles of uncertainty propagation, quantification and data representation which can be considered generic in their application to these and other isotope systems. These principles will include those surrounding appropriate data reporting and representation and provide guidelines for the critical evaluation of published data so that comparison can be made using equivalent data.

Course location: British Geological Survey, Keyworth

Date & Time: 20th May 1:30-5pm

Course presenter: Matt Horstwood, NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory-Geochronology and Tracers Facility

To register interest in attending please contact Theresa Mankelow (BGS Training) tkbl@bgs.ac.uk