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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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Using Data to Teach Earth ProcessesAn Illustrated Community Discussion at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America part of Cutting Edge:Data, Simulations and Models:Workshop 03:Activities
Linda Davis, Washington and Lee University
Linda Lee Davis Washington and Lee University - The project forces the students to evaluate a geochemical data base, to draw inferences from the data that they plot in various ways, and then to make inferences ...

Exploring Marine Carbon Isotope Excursions part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:AGU Modeling Workshop 2010:Activity Ideas
David Jones, Geology Department, Amherst College Topic: stable isotopes, geochemistry, oceanography, carbon cycle Course type: Upper level undergraduate course Description The exercise is designed to introduce ...

Water Quality-Total Dissolved Solids part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Teaching with Data:Examples
Bob Mackay, Clark College
Students use a microcomputer connected to a conductivity probe to measure the total dissolved solids in local area water samples. -

Using Melting Ice to Teach Radiometric Dating part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Developed by Donald Wise, Franklin and Marshall College. Taken from Wise, 1990 . Related Links Radioactive Decay
Students are challenged to a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery in which they construct their own decay curves of melting ice to determine time-zero.

Exploring Radiometric Dating with Dice part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Carla Whittington derived from Baer (1999) Related Links Radioactive Decay ProbabilityExponential Growth and Decay
An activity in which students use dice to explore radioactive decay and dating and make simple calculations.

Copper Extraction Demonstration Tutorial part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lecture Demonstrations:Examples
Summary This demonstration uses sulfuric acid and crushed copper ore (malachite) to produce a solution of copper sulfate and carbonic acid in a beaker. When a freshly sanded nail is dropped into the copper sulfate ...

Vostok Ice Core: Excel (Mac or PC) part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Mathematical and Statistical Models:Mathematical and Statistical Models Examples
Professor Stephanie Pfirman, Barnard College. Based on data of J. Chapellaz, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Geophysique de l'Environment, Grenoble. Archived at: Lamont-Dohert Earth Observatory (more info) . Starting Point page organized by R.M. MacKay.
Students use Excel to graph and analyze Vostok ice core data (160,000 years of Ice core data from Vostok Station). Data includes ice age, ice depth, carbon dioxide, methane, dust, and deuterium isotope relative ...

Gold Star Panel Review This activity received a gold star rating from a Panel Peer Review.
See the activity page for details.

Radiometric Dating part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Related Links Radioactive Decay Exponential Growth and Decay Peter Kohn - James Madison University Christopher Gellasch - U.S. Military Academy Jim Sochacki - James Madison University Scott Eaton - James Madison University Richard Ford - Weber State University
This activity leads students through derivations of the equations associated with radiometric dating.

Radioactive Decay and Geochronology part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Kirsten Menking, Vassar College
Students create a STELLA model of the radioactive decay process.

Understanding Radioactivity in Geology: The Basics of Decay part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Christina StringerUniversity of South Florida, Tampa FL 33620 This activity was developed for Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum . National Science Foundation, DUE 0442629.
PowerPoint module leading students through creation and manipulation of spreadsheet to forward model an example of exponential decaythe number of remaining unpopped kernels of popcorn in a bag of popping popcorn.

The Woodlark Basin as a Natural Laboratory for the Study of the Geological Sciences part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Andrew Goodliffe, University of Alabama, The
This activity guides the students through a set of geological problems related to the Woodlark Basin, Papua New Guinea.

Using geochemical proxies to trace sediment sources part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Karin Block, CUNY City College; Annika Johansson, Columbia University in the City of New York
This lecture segments can be used in a mid- to upper-level course to introduce geochemical proxies commonly applied to weathering and sedimentation.

Serpentinite in Subduction Zones: How do we find it, and how common is it? part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Jeff Ryan
A mineralogical, petrological, and geophysical exploration of the role of serpentinite in subduction zones, as highlighted in the two NSF-MARGINS Subduction Factory focus sites.

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