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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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Marine Oxygen Isotopes and Changes in Global Ice Volume part of Cutting Edge:Climate Change:Activities
Ben Laabs, SUNY College at Geneseo
Students explore marine oxygen-isotope data from cores collected by the Ocean Drilling Program. The activity gives students access to real paleoclimate data, develops their skills in organizing and graphing data, ...

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Deciphering complex fluid-mineral interactions in the palm of your hand part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
This exercise uses polished rock slabs containing veins sealed by copper-bearing minerals to understand the feedback effects in complex fluid-rock systems. By determining the minerals and their relative timing, the ...

Crystallization of Magmas part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
John Ayers, Vanderbilt University
Students use three methods to explore the crystallization behavior of a rock of known composition at 1 atmosphere pressure. This laboratory exercise illustrates various approaches used by geochemists and ...

Volcanoes around the Globe (Beta test copy) part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Mark Abolins, Middle Tennessee State University
Undergraduate non-majors use the Arcview geographic information system (GIS) to explore volcanic hazards and the geochemistry of volcanic rocks. Students explore geochemical data from the GEOROC global database and ...

Volcanoes Around the Globe part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
Mark Abolins, Middle Tennessee State University
Undergraduate non-majors use the Arcview geographic information system (GIS) to explore volcanic hazards and the geochemistry of volcanic rocks. Students explore geochemical data from the GEOROC global database and ...

Soil Ecology Lab part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Becky Ball, Arizona State University at the West Campus
Students collect soil samples from places of interest around campus and run a series of basic soil analyses to make conclusions about how soil fertility relates to the biological community and human management.

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Exploring Cation Exchange Capacity through the use of the Soil Survey part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Scott Werts, Winthrop University
This assignment allows students to utilize real soil data/information presented online to learn how the some of the physical properties of the soil influence the chemistry of the soil and health of the ecosystem.

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Calcium (Ca) availability to ecosystems: Weathering of limestone, apatite, and Ca-plagioclase (anorthite) part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Abir Biswas, The Evergreen State College
Sequence of laboratory activities to develop familiarity with geochemistry bench laboratory experimental methods; demonstration of different weathering rates of different Ca-bearing minerals; connection between ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Environmental Geochemistry Class Project part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Carey Gazis, Central Washington University
This is a inquiry-driven class research project on a local environmental geochemistry question that is accomplished during three-hour laboratory sessions each week. Students are divided into groups that will share ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Acid Mine Drainage Field-Lab Experience Round 1 part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Greg Druschel, University of Vermont and State Agricultural College
This contribution outlines a trip with my Geochemistry class to the Ely Mine, a massive sulfide mine (Besshi-type) in east-central Vermont and the field work they did there. We spent a full day discussing the site, ...

Relationship between mineral weathering and groundwater composition part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry: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 ...

Compositional Diversity in Volcanic Suites part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, students use geochemical data downloaded from the GEOROC database to explore the origins of compositional variation among volcanic rocks associated with the Yellowstone and Crater Lake calderas.

Spreadsheet analysis of chemical hydrographs part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
This is a good activity to have students practice spreadsheet analysis skills on a medium large data set. It also helps them understand stream hydrographs and baseflow/quickflow components.

Rayleigh fractionation visualization part of Cutting Edge:Climate Change:Activities
E. Christa Farmer, Hofstra University
A MS Excel spreadsheet gives an account of Rayleigh fractionation, the progressive removal of the heavier oxygen isotope as a moist air parcel moves from the subtropics to the high latitudes. This exercise is ...

Where Did That Quartzite Clast Come From?: A Problem-Based Provenance Study part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Andrew Hanson, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Students conducting geochemical provenance studies are forced to deal with obvious things such as manipulating/interpreting geochemical data, but also must deal less obvious factors such as considering earlier ...

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