EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Implementing the Sparrow laboratory data system in multiple subdomains of geochronology and geochemistry

Daven Quinn1, Benjamin Linzmeier1, Kurt Sundell2, George Gehrels2, Simon Goring3, Shaun Marcott1, Stephen Meyers1, Shanan Peters1, Jake Ross4, Mark Schmitz5, Bradley Singer1, and John Williams2
Daven Quinn et al.
  • 1Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, United States of America (
  • 2Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States of America
  • 3Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, United States of America
  • 4New Mexico Geochronology Research Laboratory, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Socorro, NM, United States of America
  • 5Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, Boise, ID, United States of America

Data sharing between laboratories is critical for building repeatable, comparable, and robust geochronology and geochemistry workflows. Meanwhile, in the broader geosciences, there is an increasing need for standardized access to aggregated geochemical data tied to basic geological context. Such data can be used to enrich sample and geochemical data repositories (e.g., EarthChem,, publisher archives), align geochemical context with other datasets that capture global change (e.g., Neotoma, the Paleobiology Database), and calibrate digital Earth models (e.g., Macrostrat) against geochronology-driven assessments of geologic time.

A typical geochemical lab manages a large archive of interpreted data; standardizing and contributing data products to community-level archives entails significant manual work that is not usually undertaken. Furthermore, without widely accepted  interchange formats, this effort must be repeated for each intended destination.

Sparrow (, in development by a consortium of geochronology labs, is a standardized system designed to support labs’ efforts to manage, contextualize, and share their geochemical data. The system augments existing analytical workflows with tools to manage metadata (e.g., projects, sample context, embargo status) and software interfaces for automated data exchange with community facilities. It is extensible for a wide variety of geochemical methods and analytical processes.

In this update, we will report on the implementation of Sparrow in the Arizona Laserchron Center detrital zircon facility, and how that lab is using the system to capture geological context across its data archive. We will review similar integrations underway with U-Pb, 40Ar/39Ar, SIMS, optically stimulated luminescence, thermochronology, and cosmogenic nuclide dating. We will also discuss preliminary efforts to aggregate the output of multiple chronometers to refine age calibrations for the Macrostrat stratigraphic model.

How to cite: Quinn, D., Linzmeier, B., Sundell, K., Gehrels, G., Goring, S., Marcott, S., Meyers, S., Peters, S., Ross, J., Schmitz, M., Singer, B., and Williams, J.: Implementing the Sparrow laboratory data system in multiple subdomains of geochronology and geochemistry, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13832,, 2021.

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