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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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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, ...

Relationship between mineral weathering and groundwater composition part of Activities
Nancy Hinman, University of Montana-Missoula, The
By observing changes in rocks exposed to chemical weathering, students are to infer resulting changes to the chemical composition of groundwater. Students are required to justify their inferences through the use of ...

Compositional Diversity in Volcanic Suites part of Activities
Kent Ratajeski, University of Kentucky
In this exercise, students use geochemical data downloaded from the GEOROC database to explore the origins of compositional variation among volcanic rocks associated with the Yellowstone and Crater Lake calderas.

Spreadsheet analysis of chemical hydrographs part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
This is a good activity to have students practice spreadsheet analysis skills on a medium large data set. It also helps them understand stream hydrographs and baseflow/quickflow components.

Rayleigh fractionation visualization part of Cutting Edge:Climate Change:Activities
E. Christa Farmer, Hofstra University
A MS Excel spreadsheet gives an account of Rayleigh fractionation, the progressive removal of the heavier oxygen isotope as a moist air parcel moves from the subtropics to the high latitudes. This exercise is ...

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 ...

Where Did That Quartzite Clast Come From?: A Problem-Based Provenance Study part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Andrew Hanson, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Students conducting geochemical provenance studies are forced to deal with obvious things such as manipulating/interpreting geochemical data, but also must deal less obvious factors such as considering earlier ...

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.

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 ...

Modeling Exsolution (and Perthite Formation) as an Example of Complex-System Behavior part of Cutting Edge: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 ...

Introduction to Equilibrium Thermodynamics: Salt Dissolution part of 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.

Zoned Plagioclase Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
R. K. Smith
The purpose of this exercise is to: become familiar with the various types of zoning found to occur in plagioclase feldspars, be able to recognize and identify the various zoning types, and be able to interpret the ...