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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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How Effective is a Remediation System at a Regional Landfill? part of Activities
Kevin Theissen, University of St. Thomas (MN)
In this activity, students begin exploring the effectiveness of a remediation system installed at a closed landfill system. Students learn the importance of redox chemistry in a real-world context and build field ...

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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 ...

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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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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 ...

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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:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Brandon Schwab, Humboldt State 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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Petrography and Petrogenesis of a Mid-Ocean Ridge Lava Suite part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Matthew Smith, University of Florida; Mike Perfit, University of Florida
This activity is designed to accompany a set of thin sections available from the authors. Students investigate mid-ocean ride basalt petrography and relate observed mineralogic changes to relevant phase diagrams ...

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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. ...

Batch and Rayleigh Decarbonation Modeling of d13C part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Jade Star Lackey, Pomona College;
This is an Excel spreadsheet and graph that illustrates standard "batch" and Rayleigh decarbonation models and how they can be used to detect fluid infiltration during metamorphism of carbonates. It makes ...

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 ...

Calculating Rb-Sr Isochrons part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Andy Barth, Indiana University-Bloomington
This is a spreadsheet that I use in petrology to walk students through calculating Rb-Sr isochrons and talking about isotope heterogeneity and sampling at various scales. The example exercise is the Tuolumne ...

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 ...

Round Robin Field Methods Protocols for Improved Outcomes part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Todd Halihan, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
This activity provides an approach to teach field methods that is programmed to avoid common pitfalls in teaching field methods to students. The two common problems that are avoided is familiarity with equipment ...

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