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Geochemistry Activities

Stream sampling in the Animas River
USGS photo

This collection of activities can be used in geochemistry courses. The collection includes lab exercises, classroom activities, problem sets and more. The materials below are sorted by topic, and may be listed under more than one topic. Help us expand the collection by contributing your favorite teaching activity.



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Igneous Rock Compositions and Plate Tectonics part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Allen Glazner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In this exercise, students use whole-rock major- and trace-element compositions of igneous rocks from a variety of tectonic settings and locations to explore the importance of plate setting in determining magma ...

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Sediments and the Global Carbon Cycle part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Lonnie Leithold, North Carolina State University at Raleigh
This is a series of exercises designed to introduce undergraduate students to the role of sediments and sedimentary rocks in the global carbon cycle and the use of stable carbon isotopes to reconstruct ancient ...

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Schreinemakers Analysis - Problem #4 part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a straightforward Schreinemakers analysis involving two invariant points.

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T-X Phase Diagrams part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a 15 page tutorial and problem set designed to get students familiar with T-X diagrams, their implications, and uses.

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Calculating a Simple Phase Diagram: Diamond=Graphite part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a very short exercise designed to get students to understand how the Gibbs energy equation is used to calculate the location of a reaction in P-T space. I use it in-class and have students work on it in ...

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Teaching Stable Isotope Geochemistry in an Undergraduate Petrology or Geochemistry Course part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Steve Dunn
This assignment includes three reading assignments for students that (1) introduce the basics of stable isotope geochemistry, (2) explain carbon and oxygen isotopic shifts that result from volatilization and/or ...

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Determining Mantle Temperature and Composition from Discontinuities part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
Anna Courtier, James Madison University
This pair of activities uses observations of mantle discontinuity structure to examine mantle heterogeneity and differences in the depth extent of melt sources for ridges and "hotspots." The first ...

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Quiz and in-class worksheet part of Activities
Karen Hudson-Edwards, Birkbeck University of London
For 1st year 'Introduction to Geochemistry' a pre-lecture quiz reviewing the previous weeks' lecture materials an in-class worksheet allowing students to practice skills relating to chemical ...

Relationship between mineral weathering and groundwater composition part of Activities
Nancy Hinman, University of Montana-Missoula, The
By observing changes in rocks exposed to chemical weathering, students are to infer resulting changes to the chemical composition of groundwater. Students are required to justify their inferences through the use of ...

What can zircons tell us about the Early Earth? part of Cutting Edge:Early Earth:Activities
Aaron Cavosie, University of Puerto Rico; Julie Baldwin, University of Montana-Missoula, The; Darrell Henry, Louisiana State University
This image shows an array of Jack Hill zircons arranged on a piece of tape prior to casting in epoxy. Details Students create U-Pb concordia plots in Excel to experience the methods used to date the worlds oldest ...

Mole %, Weight %, Compositions and Projections part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is an introductory exercise intended to get students thinking about mole vs weight % and about the power and problems of projections.

Teaching the nitrogen cycle and human health interactions part of Cutting Edge:Geology and Human Health:Workshop 04:Activities
Margaret Townsend, University of Kansas Main Campus
This activity uses objects, pictures, and text in a matching game to define the nitrogen cycle and the environmental and human health impacts of nitrogen. The game can be used to associate useful and detrimental ...

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Temperature/Salinity/Density activity part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Petra Dekens, San Francisco State University
This is an in-class activity designed to improve the students' understanding of the relationships between temperature and density, salinity and density, and density differences in driving vertical water ...

Rb-Sr isotope in-class exercise part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Allen Glazner
This set of problems involves calculations of changes in radiogenic isotope ratios. It requires students to understand the concept of an isochron and how isotope ratios change (or do not change) during magma mixing ...

Batch and Rayleigh Decarbonation Modeling of d13C part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jade Star Lackey, Pomona College;
This is an Excel spreadsheet and graph that illustrates standard "batch" and Rayleigh decarbonation models and how they can be used to detect fluid infiltration during metamorphism of carbonates. It makes ...

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