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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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Problem set: Constructing metamorphic phase diagrams using phase equilibria and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Mark Brandriss
In this problem set students construct a P-T phase diagram for the aluminosilicate polymorphs based on experimental phase equilibria and application of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. The problem set uses unit ...

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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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Heat Capacity of Minerals: A Hands-On Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics part of Cutting Edge: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, ...

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Using Dynamic Digital Maps to Teach Petrology part of Cutting Edge: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 ...

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Timing of mineralization in the palm of your hand: Cross-cutting relations, copper minerals and ore-forming hydrothermal fluid evolution part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
This lab is designed to familiarize students with the geologic history of an ore-deposit, deciphered in the palm of your hand. By determining cross cutting relations of veins and mineralogy, students decipher the ...

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Extending Mineralogy by Electron Microprobe Analysis part of Cutting Edge: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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Working with Electron Microprobe Data from a High Pressure Experiment - Calculating Mineral Formulas, Unit Cell Content, and Geothermometry part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Brandon Schwab, Humboldt State University
In this problem set students use electron microprobe analyses of a peridotite partial melting experiment to determine mineral formulas, calculate unit cell content, plot results on a classification diagram, and use ...

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Petrography and Petrogenesis of a Mid-Ocean Ridge Lava Suite part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Matthew Smith, University of Florida; Mike Perfit, University of Florida
This activity is designed to accompany a set of thin sections available from the authors. Students investigate mid-ocean ride basalt petrography and relate observed mineralogic changes to relevant phase diagrams ...

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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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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 ...

Chemical Differentiation in the Palisades Sill part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Matthew Gorring, Montclair State University
The purpose of this assignment is for students to synthesize field observations, petrography, and whole-rock chemical analyses in order to investigate chemical differentiation processes in a basaltic magma chamber. ...

Origins of Mafic Enclaves in the Dinkey Creek Pluton, Central Sierra Nevada Batholith, California part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jade Star Lackey, Pomona College;
In this lab exercise, students use and substantial spreadsheet of major, minor and trace element data compiled from studies of the Dinkey Creek pluton (Sierra Nevada batholith) and its microgranular mafic enclaves. ...

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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