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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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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 ...

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 ...

Experiments with Ultraviolet Radiation and the Greenhouse Effect part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Melanie Szulczewski, University of Mary Washington
Students use a solar cooker to model the greenhouse effect. They also develop their own experiments to examine the strength of ultraviolet radiation from the sun with various protective materials.

Extending Mineralogy by Electron Microprobe Analysis part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
John Goodge, University of Minnesota-Duluth
This lab is designed to be a highly interactive lab session for a petrology course, where instructors provide a minimal level of essential background and then the entire group works together to explore mineral ...

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Teaching Stable Isotope Geochemistry in an Undergraduate Petrology or Geochemistry Course part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Heat Capacity of Minerals: A Hands-On Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Mineralogy:Activities
David Bailey, Hamilton College
Minerals are inorganic chemical compounds with a wide range of physical and chemical properties. Geologists frequently measure and observe properties such as hardness, specific gravity, color, etc. Unfortunately, ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Using Dynamic Digital Maps to Teach Petrology part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Christopher D. Condit
In this session we will examine how to utilize Dynamic Digital Maps (DDMs) in undergraduate petrology courses to bring inaccessible and exciting volcanic field areas to the students in the classroom and to engage ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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