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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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Constraints and Implications of Groundwater Temperature on the Formation of Mississippi Valley-type Zn-Pb Deposits part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
Martin Appold, University of Missouri-Columbia
This assignment illustrates the role of groundwater in transporting heat and its implications for the formation of hydrothermal ore deposits. The assignment uses a combination of graphs and algebraic equations that ...

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Determining Mantle Temperature and Composition from Discontinuities part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
Anna Courtier, James Madison University
This pair of activities uses observations of mantle discontinuity structure to examine mantle heterogeneity and differences in the depth extent of melt sources for ridges and "hotspots." The first ...

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Writing chemical reactions part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
John Ayers, Vanderbilt University
This is a simple introduction to writing weathering and redox reactions by hand and by using the Rxn program in the Geochemists Workbench. Its usually the first HW assignment I give in my class "Geochemical ...

Mineral Solubility Calculations part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
John Ayers, Vanderbilt University
Explores the pH dependence of the solubility of quartz, kaolinite, and rare earth phosphate, and familiarizes students with the use of the Geochemists Workbench programs "React" for creating reaction path ...

Basic Chemistry Review part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Thomas Meixner, The University of Arizona
This assignment reviews basic of chemistry for students who should have had 2 introductory semesters of basic chemistry prior to enrolling in the Fundamental of Water Quality course for which the assignment is ...

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Compositional Diversity in Volcanic Suites part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry: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.

Calculating a Simple Phase Diagram: Diamond=Graphite part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a very short exercise designed to get students to understand how the Gibbs energy equation is used to calculate the location of a reaction in P-T space. I use it in-class and have students work on it in ...

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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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Igneous Rock Compositions and Plate Tectonics part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Allen Glazner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In this exercise, students use whole-rock major- and trace-element compositions of igneous rocks from a variety of tectonic settings and locations to explore the importance of plate setting in determining magma ...

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Schreinemakers Analysis - Problem #4 part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This is a straightforward Schreinemakers analysis involving two invariant points.

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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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Calculating Compositional Variation and Common Substitutions for Igneous and Metamorphic Minerals part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
This problem set uses Excel spreadsheets to calculate mineral formulae from analytical data (typically from the electron microprobe) using a variety of formulations that assume numerous variations of crystal ...

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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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