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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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Problem set: Constructing metamorphic phase diagrams using phase equilibria and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
, Smith College
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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Timing of mineralization in the palm of your hand: Cross-cutting relations, copper minerals and ore-forming hydrothermal fluid evolution part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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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Petrography and Petrogenesis of a Mid-Ocean Ridge Lava Suite part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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:Courses: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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Marine Oxygen Isotopes and Changes in Global Ice Volume part of Cutting Edge:Topics: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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Modeling Exsolution (and Perthite Formation) as an Example of Complex-System Behavior part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman; Barb Dutrow, Louisiana State University
Students use a physical model, computer simulation, examples from the natural world, visualizations, and overarching thought experiments to explore this phenomenon. Exsolution embodies attributes of a complex ...

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part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Mark Schmitz, Boise State University
This web-based app is designed to help students evaluate a radioisotopic age and its uncertainty based upon the collection of data, the application of statistics, and the interpretation of geological and analytical ...

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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:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Brandon Schwab, Western Carolina 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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Using spring water chemistry to understand groundwater inputs part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Rebecca Frus, University of New Mexico-Main Campus
The assignment will begin with teaching proper water collection and use of equipment for hydrochemical field work. Once the class is familiar with sample collecting technques, the class takes a field trip to ...

Dilutions and Spectral Properties of Solutions part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Carmen Nezat, Eastern Washington University
The purpose of this week's lab is to - prepare calibration standards - use a UV-Vis spectrometer to determine the spectral peaks for several dye solutions, and create a calibration curve - calculate how much ...

Isotopes in the Hydrogeologic System part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Laura Ruhl, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
The students will use activities to understand atomic mass and isotopes and stable isotopic fractionation in the hydrologic system.

Resistivity Profile in an Urban Setting part of Cutting Edge:Geophysics:Workshop 07:Geophysics Activities
William Montgomery, New Jersey City University
Activity in an urban setting that includes an electrical resistivity line and hydrogeological information from nearby monitoring wells that enables students to create a meaningful interpretation of subsurface ...

Rb-Sr isotope in-class exercise part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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:Courses: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 ...

Chemical Differentiation in the Palisades Sill part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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. ...