The beginnings of Geotop, a center for research into the dynamics of the Earth system, date back to 1974, when its ancestor, the isotope geochemistry research laboratory, was created through the "Service à la Recherche" program of the Fonds Formation de chercheurs et action concertée (FCAC), a Quebec research assistance and support fund. It immediately stood out in the Quebec geosciences scene for its innovative spirit, acquiring the first mass spectrometer for measuring stable isotopes. The laboratory was housed in the Centre de Recherche en Sciences Appliquées à l'Alimentation (CRESALA), then part of UQAM.
In 1982, the transfer of CRESALA to the Institut Armand-Frappier led to the creation of Geotop, recognized as an institutional research laboratory by UQAM and bringing together researchers from several departments. In 1984, Geotop was accredited as an institutional research center by UQAM.
Since then, with the help of funding from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the UQAM Foundation, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Geotop has acquired unique, state-of-the-art analytical equipment including numerous mass spectrometers dedicated to the analysis of radiogenic and stable isotopes.
Today, Geotop is a centre for research and advanced training recognized as a strategic group by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT). Its community is made up of over 40 researchers who are interested in the planetary system with training in geology, biology, chemistry, physics, and geophysics. Geotop researchers are from several institutions across Quebec: UQAM, McGill, Concordia, INRS-Eau, Terre, et Environnement, ISMER at UQAR, Université de Montréal, UQAT, Polytechnique Montréal, ÉTS and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Quebec.
Questions surrounding the Earth system are increasingly complex and require multidisciplinary approaches. Geotop actively participates in the training of future scientists thanks to the pooling of skills and resources allowing cutting-edge research in the field and laboratory. Geotop is currently directed by Daniele Pinti.