Dal Alert!

Receive alerts from Dalhousie by text message.


Isabelle Coutand

Associate Professor; Director - Fission Track Laboratory

Department of Earth Sciences

Email: icoutand@Dal.Ca
Phone: +1 902 494 7827
Fax: +1 902 494 6889
Mailing Address: 
Dalhousie University
1459 Oxford Street
PO BOX 15000
Halifax NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Tectonic geodynamics
  • Earth surface processes
  • Geochronology



  Life Sciences Centre
  3rd floor, Bio / E S Wing
  Rm. 3015
  Floor Plans


Current Research

Interactions tectonics, climate and erosion; Mountain ranges development; Detrital and in situ thermochronology.

The new low-temperature thermochronology lab is now open - we perform fission-track and (U-Th)/He dating - please send inquiries to Thermochronology@dal.ca"


  • PhD, Geosciences Rennes, France (1999)
  • DEA, Geosciences Rennes, France (1995)
  • Undergraduate Studies, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Nantes, France (1994)


Research Opportunities

  • Project 1. PhD, Fall 2018, Funding pending for tuition, fees, stipend, and research costs. On May 12, 2008, the Mw 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake occurred in eastern Tibet causing a 270 km-long co-seismic surface rupture, motivating the Wenchuan Earthquake Scientific Deep Drilling Project. The extracted metamorphic bedrock cores provide a unique natural laboratory to calibrate and test the kinetics of OSL-thermochronometry, a new technique potentially capable of constraining spatiotemporal changes of the thermal field in the upper two km of the continental crust, as yet a poorly explored crustal layer. This project involves analytical work in the lab and numerical modeling.
    Collaborations: Dr. F. Herman (Lausanne U.), Dr. G. King (Bern U.), Pr. H. Li (Beijing U.).

  • Project 2. PhD, Fall 2018, Funding pending for tuition, fees, stipend, and research costs. The North Anatolian Fault zone (NAFZ) is a right-lateral transform plate boundary between Eurasia and the Anatolia microplate. The fault extends from northern-eastern Turkey to northern Greece and is one of the most hazardous active strike-slip faults on Earth with 12 Mw > 6.5 since 1934. The NAFZ formed ~ 16-11 Ma ago in eastern Turkey in response to the collision of Arabia and Eurasia and has grown westward with its tip entering the north Aegean domain about 5 Ma ago to supposedly reach the Golf of Corinth 1 Ma ago. If this conjecture were correct, this plate boundary would have propagated southwestward at a mean rate of ~ 100 km/Ma during the Pliocene. However, virtually no geochronological data are available to support this assertion. This project involves structural mapping in the field, and cutting-edge U-Pb calcite dating on a string of islands straddling the fault, to date the NAFZ propagation across the North Aegean domain.  
    Collaborations: Dr. C. Mottram (Portsmouth U.).

Kangchenjunga (8,586 m) from Gocha La Pass, Sikkim Himalaya