Space Research & Planetary Sciences (WP)


Master Thesis: Terrestrial age dating of meteorites

When did they fall? Terrestrial age dating of meteorites

Cosmogenic 14C is produced in meteoroids in space and decays within ~50'000 years after the fall of a meteorite on Earth. This allows the determination of terrestrial ages (=fall ages) of meteorites. Using the 14C extraction line for meteorites at the Institute of Physics (only the second such line working worldwide), meteorite terrestrial ages will be determined. This project requires a flair for lab work and persistence. Dating of meteorites will be accompanied by full classification work of several new meteorites using microscopy and electron microprobe analysis. To add appeal to this study, the terrestrial age of European (including Swiss) meteorites will be compared with meteorites from Oman to compare weathering rates in Central Europe with those of Arabian deserts, with an option to date self-collected meteorites. Terrestrial ages of meteorites are essential to understand the accumulation rate of extraterrestrial material on Earth and to obtain information about the rate of meteorite weathering.


Prof. Beda Hofmann and Prof. Ingo Leya (