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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 Dynamic Digital Maps to Teach Petrology part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Christopher D. Condit
In this session we will examine how to utilize Dynamic Digital Maps (DDMs) in undergraduate petrology courses to bring inaccessible and exciting volcanic field areas to the students in the classroom and to engage ...

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

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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. ...

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

Major Element Control Presentation part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Kurt Hollocher, Union College (Lincoln, NE)
The presentation is an introduction to the control of magma chemical compositions by the fractionation of crystallizing phases. It is followed by a lab exercise where students interpret volcanic rock petrology and ...

Major Element Fractionation During Differentiation part of Cutting Edge: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 ...

Homework on Volcanic Rock Chemistry and Binary Phase Diagrams part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jane Selverstone, University of New Mexico-Main Campus
This homework has 2 main parts: In the first part, students are given bulk compositions for 6 volcanic rocks and asked to classify them, think about their normative compositions, and given likely tectonic settings ...

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 ...

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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Quiz and in-class worksheet part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
Karen Hudson-Edwards, Birkbeck University of London
For 1st year 'Introduction to Geochemistry' a pre-lecture quiz reviewing the previous weeks' lecture materials an in-class worksheet allowing students to practice skills relating to chemical ...

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.

Construction of a Simple Conceptual Model part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Scott Werts, Winthrop University
This homework assignment is designed to give the students practice in developing a simple conceptual model using reservoirs, fluxes, and simple calculations of sediment, carbon and nutrient accumulation in a ...

Living Learning Community: Spaceship Earth Research Course part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Penelope Boston, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Freshmen enrolled in the Spaceship Earth Living Learning Community conduct research on a real project that is formulated and conducted during a 2-semester academic year.

Carbon in the Oceans part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Amy Townsend-Small, University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
In this assignment, students in small groups are asked to interpret and explain a figure depicting one aspect of marine carbon biogeochemistry. Then a representative of each group explains the figure to the class.

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