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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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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 ...

Application of Sr Isotopic Data to Tuolumne Intrusive Series, Sierra Nevada, CA part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jeff Tepper, University of Puget Sound
In this problem set students are given Rb/Sr and 87Sr/86Sr data for whole rock and mineral samples from three granitic intrusions in the Sierra Nevada. They use these data (in EXCEL) to calculate isochron ages and ...

Major Element Fractionation During Differentiation part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Elizabeth King
This problem set introduces some of the more advanced uses of Excel to not only calculate how the chemistry of a magma changes with crystallization but also to see how the liquidus assemblage can drastically change ...

Calculating Rb-Sr Isochrons part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Andy Barth, Indiana University-Bloomington
This is a spreadsheet that I use in petrology to walk students through calculating Rb-Sr isochrons and talking about isotope heterogeneity and sampling at various scales. The example exercise is the Tuolumne ...

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 ...

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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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 ...

Geothermal Gradients part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Cameron Davidson, Carleton College
In this problem set the students use two different equations to calculate a conductive geothermal gradient using a spreadsheet program like Excel. Once they have the geothermal gradient plotted, they are asked to ...

Magma Modification in the central Sierra Nevada Batholith part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jennifer Wenner, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
This exercise is centered around a suite of rocks from the Sierra Nevada batholith. The activities are designed to give petrology students a capstone experience for the igneous portion of the upper-level Petrology ...

Learning Thermodynamics and Using Spreadsheets part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Sumit Chakraborty and Somnath Dasgupta
These files contain a set of three Excel files to balance mineral reactions, to explore variation of thermodynamic properties as a function of P, T and composition and to explore stability of different mineral ...

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 ...

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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 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, ...