Our research contributes to the Research Field Biodiversity and Earth System Dynamics.


•The Section Geochronology performs in-situ analysis on geological materials by making use of Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy combined with Laser Ablation (LA ICP-MS).

•We do U-Pb dating on zircon, rutile, monazite, and uranium minerals. Especially, we deal with magmatic, detrital, and metamorphic zircon.

•Another application is the analysis of trace elements and REE of zircon and other minerals.

•Further, we include in our research Lu-Hf isotopes of zircon. Analysis are performed in collaboration with the LA-ICP-MS Lab of the Intitute of Geosciences at the University of Frankfurt am Main (Dr. Axel Gerdes).



• Provenance analysis of Precambrian and Phanerozoic clastic sedimentary rocks and recent river deposits by U-Pb dating of detrital zircon grains (includes the determination of the maximum age of sedimentation).

• U-Pb zircon ages of intrusion and dating of inherited zircons of plutonic and effusive rocks (includes the determination of geological minimum ages).


• Establishment of zircon provinces (U-Pb. Lu-Hf): Palaeogeographical reconstructions based on provenance studies of clastic sediments from the Gondwanan and Laurussian margins.

• In-situ analysis of U-Th-Pb and Lu-Hf isotopes on zircon and other minerals will be used for the reconstruction of the crustal evolution of Precambrian and Pan-African orogens of the Gondwana supercontinent.

• Reconstruction of Cadomian and Variscan orogenic processes during Pangaea configuration.

• Research on the coupling of orogenic processes with the origin of multi-cellular life during the Ediacaran early palaeo-ecosystems in the Precambrian-Cambrian transition, and the palaeoenvironment.

• Age dating of Precambrian and Palaeozoic glacial events and impact on the evolution of life.

• Zircon populations and destruction mechanisms of zircon grains in recent river systems.


Running Projects


The Geochronology section was established in 2007 and is the youngest of the Museum for Mineralogy and Geology (MMG), which is a part of the Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden (SNSD). The scientific focus of our section is  the determination of U-Pb ages of rock forming processes via in-situ U-Th-Pb analysis on zircon and other minerals. The section provides all facilities necessary for heavy mineral separation of hard rock material, a SEM (shared with other sections), and a clean lab. The heart of the section is a LA-ICP-MS system, which was delivered at the 21st of December 2007. After installation and upgrade of the laboratory in March 2008, an intensive testing phase of all instruments started. Since January 2009 the instruments operate routinely and were also used by several international guests, as well as by students.