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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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What can zircons tell us about the Early Earth? part of Cutting Edge:Early Earth:Activities
Aaron Cavosie, University of Puerto Rico; Julie Baldwin, University of Montana-Missoula, The; Darrell Henry, Louisiana State University
This image shows an array of Jack Hill zircons arranged on a piece of tape prior to casting in epoxy. Details Students create U-Pb concordia plots in Excel to experience the methods used to date the worlds oldest ...

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.

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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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, ...

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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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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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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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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 ...

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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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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 ...

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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
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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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.