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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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Analysis of Hydrochemical Data part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Joseph Asante, Oberlin College
In this activity students examine groundwater flow path based on hydraulic head data/ potentiometric surface and spatial variation of groundwater chemistry. Students analyze the data using AquaChem and Phreeqc ...

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 ...

Application of Sr Isotopic Data to Tuolumne Intrusive Series, Sierra Nevada, CA part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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:Courses: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 ...

Learning Thermodynamics and Using Spreadsheets part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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 ...

Geothermal Gradients part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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:Courses: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 ...

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 ...

Origins of Mafic Enclaves in the Dinkey Creek Pluton, Central Sierra Nevada Batholith, California part of Cutting Edge:Courses: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: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. ...

Calculating Rb-Sr Isochrons part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Andy Barth, IUPUI
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 ...

Crystallization-Differentiation of Basaltic Magma part of Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, students use geochemical data from volcanic glasses and minerals in lavas and drill cores from the solidified Kilauea Iki lava lake to learn about the petrologic processes related to the eruption ...

Introduction to Equilibrium Thermodynamics: Salt Dissolution part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Andrew Knudsen, Lawrence University;
Students dissolve simple salts, halite and sylvite, in water at different temperatures and explore the thermodynamics of this simple system to build a foundation for further studies.

Rock Samples and Geochemistry Analyses part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Maria Rosa Lourdes, Bahia Federal University
We will emphasize the importance of rock sampling and preparation for geochemistry analyses.