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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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Extending Mineralogy by Electron Microprobe Analysis part of Cutting Edge: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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Weathering of Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary Rocks in a Semi-Arid Climate - An Engineering Application of Petrology part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Wendy Harrison, National Science Foundation; Ric Wendlandt, Colorado School of Mines
Students examine soils developed on igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks near Denver, Colorado. The 2-week exercise includes sample collection, description, and preparation, determining clay mineralogy by ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Crystallization of Magmas part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
John Ayers, Vanderbilt University
Students use three methods to explore the crystallization behavior of a rock of known composition at 1 atmosphere pressure. This laboratory exercise illustrates various approaches used by geochemists and ...

Chemical Differentiation in the Palisades Sill part of Cutting Edge: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. ...

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 ...

Acid Mine Drainage Field-Lab Experience Round 1 part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry: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, ...

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 ...

What does the core/mantle boundary look like? part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
Suzanne Baldwin, Syracuse University
This activity explores how earth scientists infer what materials are present at the core mantle boundary and what this boundary might look like. It provides students with the opportunity to contribute to the ...

Pet Rock Project: A Semester-long Exercise for Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Darrell Henry, Louisiana State University
The pet rock project is a semester-long project in which each student randomly selects an igneous or metamorphic rock from the instructor or brings in a rock from an appropriate locality, and follows all of the ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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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 ...

Environmental Geochemistry poster project part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Jodi Ryder, Central Michigan University
This is an independent case study project completed in pairs. The students should investigate an example of natural geochemistry and then use a poster format to share their findings with the class.

Spatial and Temporal Tracer Test Data Analysis part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Kenneth Carroll, New Mexico State University-Main Campus
This is an assignment I worked on with Dr. Brusseau (University of Arizona) for his Contaminant Transport class. In this problem solving exercise, students are provided data sets that could be obtained by ...

Integrating research methods into geochemistry using local resources part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Jeanette Jerz, DePauw University
This is a semester-long project that introduces students to research methods and practices. Students learn both field and lab techniques and how to develop testable hypotheses. Using local resources is an easy way ...

Geochemical debates part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Nancy Hinman, University of Montana-Missoula, The
Students are given the task of defending or refuting a statement about global warming. Students are expected to work in groups to develop the strongest argument in their favor, but must also address issues raised ...

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 ...

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