Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Menu Search

Trinity College Dublin By using this website you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with the Trinity cookie policy. For more information on cookies see our cookie policy.

Profile Photo

Professor David Chew

Professor In (Geology)

Current research applies geochronology to two problems which have attracted much attention in the recent scientific literature: isotopic dating of sedimentation (Neoproterozoic glacial sequences, Phanerozoic sequences with high biostratigraphic resolution) and exhumation mechanisms in orogenic and rift settings as deduced by low temperature thermochronology. The isotopic dating studies are funded by Science Foundation Ireland (06/RF/GEO012), (07/RFP/GEOF207). The first project involves dating sedimentary rocks by three new isotopic methods (applied to a fossil-bearing basin where the age is precisely known). The isotopic ages obtained will be compared with biostratigraphic ages to determine the suitability of each method to dating older, fossil-free sedimentary units. The second project employs precise U-Pb zircon dating of Carboniferous volcanic layers combined with high-resolution biostratigraphy to constrain the onset of Gondwanan glaciation and duration of Gondwanan glacial-interglacial cycles. I also manage the fission track laboratory in Trinity College Dublin. The laboratory was installed during summer 2007 (including all sample preparation equipment) and was funded by SFI and the Petroleum Infrastructure Program. Projects utilizing the laboratory include assessing the utility of low temperature thermochronometers (apatite fission track, (U-Th)-He apatite) in quantifying the thermal structure of the southern Iberian passive margin and investigating the timing of exhumation in tilted rift shoulders in the Tanzanian sector of the East African Rift. The latter research follows on from a recently completed Masters project which I supervised while at the University of Geneva. My PhD research (2001, University College Dublin) and post-doctoral research (University of Geneva, 2003 - 2005) involved investigating the timing of orogenesis in ancient orogenic belts (the Caledonides and proto-Andes respectively), using a combination of fieldwork and a variety of analytical techniques. In particular, much of my work on the Caledonides has involved detailed fieldwork and geochronology on the components of the Grampian orogen along the Fair Head - Clew Bay line, and its continuation into Scotland, the Highland Boundary Fault. My work in the Andes combined whole rock Sr, Nd, Pb and Hf isotopic tracing on magmatic rocks with high-precision geochronology on magmatic rocks (single crystal U-Pb zircon dating by TIMS, SIMS, LA-ICPMS and 40Ar-39Ar dating of K-bearing phases) and metamorphic rocks (Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd garnet dating, U-Pb dating of sphene and monazite). This study demonstrated the presence of an Ordovician magmatic and metamorphic belt in the Peruvian Andes for the first time, and proves the entire western South American margin (> 5000 km) was an active margin in the Early Palaeozoic.
  Earth Science   Geochemistry   Geochronology   Geology   Low temperature thermochronology   Plate Tectonics   Structural Geology
Details Date
Keynote conference talks: 'U-Pb calcite and zircon dating by LA-ICPMS image mapping', 33rd Nordic Geological Winter Meeting, Copenhagen, January 10-12, 2018. 'Detrital U-Pb geochronology of common-Pb bearing accessory minerals', workshop of the Working Group on Sediment Generation (WGSG), June 25-27, Göttingen, 2014. 'Measuring time in Palaeozoic sedimentary sequences by geochronology', VIII South American Symposium on Isotope Geology, Medellin, Colombia, July 2012. 2012-
Invited conference talks: Annual Goldschmidt Lecture, Norwegian Geological Survey, Trondheim, Spring/Summer 2019. 'Geochronology by LA-ICPMS image mapping', 7th Asia-Pacific Workshop on Laser-Ablation and Micro-Analysis, Beijing, October 2018. 'Integrating multiple thermochronometers by LA-ICPMS', 16th International Conference on Thermochronology, Chamonix, 16-21 September 2018, Quedlinburg, Germany. 'U-Pb apatite dating by LA-ICPMS', 14th International Conference on Thermochronology, Chamonix, France, 8-12 September 2014. 'Combined apatite fission track and U-Pb dating by LA-ICPMS', Mineralogical Association of Canada conference on Quantitative Mineralogy and Microanalysis of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks. St John's, Newfoundland, May 2012. 'U-Pb geochronologic evidence for the evolution of the Gondwanan margin of the north-central Andes', American Geophysical Union, Acapulco, May 2007 2007-
External Ph.D. examiner for the University of Johannesburg, the University of Adelaide, Lund University, University of Geneva (three times), the University of Oslo and the University of Stavanger; external M.Sc. examiner for the Queensland University of Technology. Internal PhD and MSc examiner for 13 theses.
Editorial Board of Geology (Web of Science's #1 ranked "geology" journal for the last 12 years) 2014-2016
Invited talks at geoscience institutes: Geological Society of Peru (June 2005), University College Dublin, (February 2006), British Antarctic Survey (June 2007), Edinburgh Geological Society (October 2010), Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (March 2011), University of Portsmouth (May 2011), Open University Geological Society (August 2011), University of Geneva (August 2011), Glasgow Geological Society (January 2012), the Irish Geological Association (November 2013), the annual Irish Geological Research Meeting (2014), the University of Rennes (2014), the University of Portsmouth (November 2017), the University of the Sorbonne, Paris (May 2018), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2018), the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (2018) and the University of St. Andrews (2018). 2005-
Editorial Board of Minerals 2016-
Grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation (US) (twice), German Research Foundation (DFG), the Italian Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research, the Romanian National Research Council, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Czech Science Foundation (twice), the SYNTHESES panel (European Union-funded Integrated Activities grant) (twice) and the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation
External reviewer for an Assistant Professorship in Structural Geology at University College Dublin 2015
Reviewer of >100 papers for AAPG Special Publications; American Mineralogist; Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences; Chemical Geology; EPSL; Economic Geology; Elements; Geochemical Journal; Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems; Geological Journal; Geological Magazine; GSA Bulletin; GSA Special Papers; Geology; Geology of Colombia, Geoscience Canada; Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research; Gondwana Research; Irish Journal of Earth Sciences; Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry; Journal of Geochemical Exploration; Journal of Geology; Journal of Metamorphic Geology; Journal of Petrology; Journal of Structural Geology; Journal of the Geological Society; Lithos; Lithosphere; Mineralogy and Petrology; Precambrian Research; Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry; Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicas, Scottish Journal of Geology; Sedimentary Geology; Sedimentology; South American Journal of Earth Sciences; Tectonics, Tectonophysics and Terra Nova. 2004-
Book reviewer (assessing feasibility of volume) for Elsevier (2017) and Dunedin Academic Press (2017) 2017-
Session Convener (Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference - 2017, Paris; 2019, Barcelona) 2017-
Committee member of the Metamorphic Studies Group 2008-2010
Working Group on Sediment Generation (co-leader and co-editor of journal Special Issues) 2018-2020
Short courses on applying isotope geochemistry to sedimentary rocks (Colombia, July 2012; Switzerland, March 2014) 2012-2014
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
French Medium Medium Medium
Details Date From Date To
Fellow of the Geological Society of London 1998 present
Member of the Geosciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy 2009 2017
Member of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2004 present
Member of the Geochemical Society 2007 present
Member of the American Geophysical Union 2007 present
Member of the Mineralogical Association of Canada 2013 present
Member of the International Association of Sedimentologists 2018 present
Panel member of the Irish Geological Heritage Programme 2002 2004
David Chew and Kerstin Drost and Jeffrey H. Marsh and Joseph A. Petrus, LA-ICP-MS imaging in the geosciences and its applications to geochronology, Chemical Geology, 559, 2021, p119917 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
De Clercq S., Chew D., O'Sullivan G., De Putter T., De Grave J., Dewaele S., Characterisation and geodynamic setting of the 1 Ga granitoids of the Karagwe-Ankole belt (KAB), Rwanda, Precambrian Research, 356, 2021, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Burda J., Klotzli U., Majka J., Chew D., Li Q.-L., Liu Y., Gaweda A., Wiedenbeck M., Tracing proto-Rheic - Qaidam Ocean vestiges into the Western Tatra Mountains and implications for the Palaeozoic palaeogeography of Central Europe, Gondwana Research, 91, 2021, p188 - 204, p188-204 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Cogné, N. and Chew, D.M. and Donelick, R.A. and Ansberque, C., LA-ICP-MS apatite fission track dating: A practical zeta-based approach, Chemical Geology, 531, (119302), 2020, Notes: [cited By 1], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Martin Nauton"Fourteu, Shane Tyrrell, Andrew Morton, Chris Mark, Gary J. O"Sullivan, David M. Chew, Constraining recycled detritus in quartz"rich sandstones: Insights from a multi"proxy provenance study of the Mid"Carboniferous, Clare Basin, western Ireland, Basin Research, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Szopa, K., Skreczko, S., Chew, D., Krzykawski, T., Szymczyk, A., Multi-tool (LA-ICPMS, EMPA and XRD) investigation on heavy minerals from selected holocene peat-bog deposits from the upper vistula River Valley, Poland, Minerals, 10, (1), 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Airaghi, L., Bellahsen, N., Dubacq, B., Chew, D., Rosenberg, C., Janots, E., Waldner, M., Magnin, V., Pre-orogenic upper crustal softening by lower greenschist facies metamorphic reactions in granites of the central Pyrenees, Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 38, (2), 2020, p183-204 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Caracciolo, L., Chew, D., Andò, S., Sediment Generation and Sediment Routing Systems, Earth-Science Reviews, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Chew, D., O'Sullivan, G., Caracciolo, L., Mark, C., Tyrrell, S., Sourcing the sand: Accessory mineral fertility, analytical and other biases in detrital U-Pb provenance analysis, Earth-Science Reviews, 202, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Klages, J.P., Salzmann, U., Bickert, T., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Gohl, K., Kuhn, G., Bohaty, S.M., Titschack, J., Müller, J., Frederichs, T., Bauersachs, T., Ehrmann, W., van de Flierdt, T., Pereira, P.S., Larter, R.D., Lohmann, G., Niezgodzki, I., Uenzelmann-Neben, G., Zundel, M., Spiegel, C., Mark, C., Chew, D., Francis, J.E., Nehrke, G., Schwarz, F., Smith, J.A., Freudenthal, T., Esper, O., Pälike, H., Ronge, T.A., Dziadek, R., Afanasyeva, V., Arndt, J.E., Ebermann, B., Gebhardt, C., Hochmuth, K., Küssner, K., Najman, Y., Riefstahl, F., Scheinert, M., Temperate rainforests near the South Pole during peak Cretaceous warmth, Nature, 580, (7801), 2020, p81-86 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED

Page 1 of 13


Award Date
Reviewer of the year, Journal of the Geological Society of London 2017
Fellow, Trinity College Dublin 2012
Metamorphic Studies Group research in progress meeting, award for best student lecture 2000
UCD Open Postgraduate Scholarship 2000
Forbairt basic research grant and UCD Research Demonstratorship 1996-1999
Cunningham Award for best Irish undergraduate mapping project 1996
My research involves applying geochronology and isotope geochemistry to a diverse series of questions in the geosciences. It is based mainly around novel method development and applications of laser-ablation (LA) ICP-MS techniques to various geoscience problems, including isotopic dating of sedimentation, sedimentary provenance studies and quantifying the timing and rates of tectonic processes such as mountain building and exhumation. My research group has pioneered U-Pb dating of apatite by the LA-ICP-MS method, and integrating it with both apatite fission-track analysis and apatite trace-element geochemistry to yield protolith compositions in provenance studies. This work was developed in an SFI Investigators Programme grant on applying detrital apatite as a provenance indicator in systems. We have extended our LA-ICP-MS U-Pb dating approaches to undertaking rapid and routine geochronology of U-bearing minerals with appreciable common Pb. We now routinely undertake multi-proxy provenance studies based on U-Pb dating of accessory heavy minerals (e.g. apatite, rutile, titanite, zircon and monazite), in collaboration with leading international research groups and also in Ireland within the SFI iCRAG research centre. Recent research has focussed on developing LA-ICPMS mapping and my group would be recognised as one of the world-leading geoscience laboratories in this field. A key novel development is our U-Pb age mapping approach to dating calcite and zircon. This method is based on selection and pooling of pixels from 2-D elemental and isotopic ratio maps, and is a particularly powerful technique for targeting subdomains in samples with complex geological histories. The U-Pb calcite dating work is funded by an SFI Investigators Program award and has important and novel applications. These include constraining the timing of mineralization in the world-class Irish Zn-Pb mineral province, dating of syn-tectonic carbonate veins in carbonate sequences in orogenic belts, or direct dating of carbonates for key time intervals in Earth history such as Neoproterozoic 'Snowball Earth' glacial episodes.