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Module GLU33934: Introduction to Geochemistry    

  Module GLU33934
Co-ordinator: Dr Juan Diego Rodriguez-Blanco
Course Type:  
Assessment: Examination (50%), continuous assessments (50%)
ECTS: 5 Credits

GLU22905, GLU22906

Contact hours & timing:

Michaelmas Term
Lectures/Practicals Weeks 10-14, 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.