Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Module GL3334: Introduction to Geochemistry    

Module GL3334
Co-ordinator: Prof Balz Kamber
Course Type:  
Assessment: Examination (50%), continuous assessments (50%)
ECTS: 5 Credits

GL2205, GL2206

Contact hours & timing:

Michaelmas Term
Lectures/Practicals Weeks 11-16, seven hours per week

Module Learning Aims:

This module aims to:

(1) Provide an understanding of principles that govern the chemistry of rocks;
(2) Illustrate the inter-relationship between mineralogy and geochemistry;
(3) Broaden skills for quantitatively testing hypotheses from qualitative field or microscope description;
(4) Illustrate how trace element systematics can be used to infer the tectonic regime of igneous rocks;
(5) Derive a broad understanding of how the Earth cycles elements via plate tectonics;
(6) Demonstrate how elemental behaviour and abundance determine where elements can be found as economic resources.

Module Content:

This module introduces students to the topics of major and trace element geochemistry as tools to reconstruct and quantify the most important rock forming and breakdown processes. These include: magmatic differentiation, metamorphic transformation, weathering and alteration. The module draws from insight provided by laboratory experiments as well as from empirical observations. Students will gain hands-on experience with the most widely used tools of geochemistry.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Use major and trace element data for rocks, understand how they are obtained, and appreciate their precision and accuracy;
  • Compute mass balances of melting, crystallisation and alteration based on major element data;
  • Determine empirical partition coefficients from literature data and model the distribution of elements between solids and liquids;
  • Correctly classify igneous rocks using geochemistry;
  • Interpret trace element patterns of common rocks and minerals in terms of fundamental petrological processes;
  • Outline the effect of long-term differentiation for the geochemistry of the Earth.


Top of Page

Last updated 23 June 2017